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liversity of 

Southern Re| 

Library Faj 









See, my liege see through plots and counterplots 
The gain and loss through glory and disgrace 
****** s j.jjj t^e jjoly s t ream 

Of human happiness glides on! 

' 'Richelieu' ' BULWER-LYTTON 






IE. VALCOUR ---- 16 



V. MADAM IZABEL -------._ 61 

VI. THE SECRET VAULT ------- 77 




X. "FOR TO-MORROW WE DIE! " - - - - 129 















XXV. THE GIRL I LOVE - - - - - 292 




Leaning back in my chair, I smoked my 
morning cigar and watched Uncle Nelson 
open his mail. He had an old-fashioned 
way of doing this: holding the envelope 
in his left hand, clipping its right edge with 
his desk shears, and then removing the 
inclosure and carefully reading it before he 
returned it to its original envelope. Across 
one end he would make a memorandum 
of the contents, after which the letters were 
placed in a neat pile. 

As I watched him methodically working, 
Uncle Nelson raised a large blue envelope, 
clipped its end, and read the inclosure 
with an appearance of unusual interest. 
Then, instead of adding it to the letters 
before him, he laid it aside; and a few 
minutes later reverted to it again, giving 
the letter a second careful perusal. Deeply 
musing, for a time he sat motionless in his 


The Fate of a Crown 

chair. Then, arousing himself from his 
deep abstraction, he cast a fleeting glance 
in my direction and composedly resumed 
his task. 

I knew Uncle Nelson's habits so well 
that this affair of the blue envelope told 
me plainly the communication was of un- 
usual importance. Yet the old gentleman 
calmly continued his work until every 
letter the mail contained was laid in a pile 
before him and fully docketed. With the 
last he suddenly swung around in his chair 
and faced me. 

"Robert," said he, "how would you 
like to go to Brazil ?" 

Lacking a ready answer to this blunt 
question I simply stared at him. 

"De Pintra has written me," he con- 
tinued "do you know of Dom Miguel 
de Pintra?" I shook my head. "He is 
one of the oldest customers of the house. 
His patronage assisted us in getting estab- 
lished. We are under deep obligations 
to de Pintra." 

"I do not remember seeing his name 
upon the books," I said, thoughtfully. 


The Blue Envelope 

"No; before you came into the firm 
he had retired from business for he is a 
wealthy man. But I believe this retire- 
ment has been bad for him. His energetic 
nature would not allow him to remain 
idle, and he has of late substituted politics 
for business." 

"That is not so bad," I remarked, 
lightly. "Some people make a business 
of politics, and often it proves a fairly 
successful one." 

My uncle nodded. 

"Here in New Orleans, yes," he ac- 
knowledged; "but things are vastly differ- 
ent in Brazil. I am sorry to say that Dom 
Miguel is a leader of the revolutionists." 

"Ah," said I, impressed by his grave 
tone. And I added: "I have supposed 
that Dom Pedro is secure upon his throne, 
and personally beloved by his subjects." 

"He is doubtless secure enough," re- 
turned Uncle Nelson, dryly, " but, although 
much respected by his people, there is, I 
believe, serious opposition to an imperial 
form of government. Rebellions have been 
numerous during his reign. Indeed, these 

The Fate of a Crown 

people of Brazil seem rapidly becoming 
republicans in principle, and it is to estab- 
lish a republican form of government that 
my friend de Pintra has placed himself at 
the head of a conspiracy.'* 

"Good for de Pintra!" I cried, heartily. 

"No, no; it is bad," he rejoined, with 
a frown. "There is always danger in op- 
posing established monarchies, and in this 
case the Emperor of Brazil has the coun- 
tenance of both Europe and America." 

As I ventured no reply to this he paused, 
and again regarded me earnestly. 

"I believe you are the very person, 
Robert, I should send de Pintra. He 
wishes me to secure for him a secretary 
whom he may trust implicitly. At present, 
he writes me, he is surrounded by the 
emperor's spies. Even the members of his 
own household may be induced to betray 
him. Indeed, I imagine my old friend in 
a very hot-bed of intrigue and danger. Yet 
he believes he could trust an American who 
has no partiality for monarchies and no 
inducement to sympathize with any party 
but his own. Will you go, Robert?" 


The Blue Envelope 

The question, abrupt though it was, 
did not startle me. Those accustomed to 
meet Nelson HarclifiVs moods must think 
quickly. Still, I hesitated. 

" Can you spare me, Uncle ?" 

"Not very well," he admitted. "You 
have relieved me of many of the tedious 
details of business since you came home 
from college. But, for de Pintra's sake, 
I am not only willing you should go, but 
I ask you, as a personal favor, to hasten to 
Rio and serve my friend faithfully, pro- 
tecting him, so far as you may be able, from 
the dangers he is facing. You will find 
him a charming fellow a noble man, 
indeed and he needs just such a loyal 
assistant as I believe you will prove. Will 
you go, Robert ?" 

Uncle Nelson's sudden proposal gave 
me a thrill of eager interest best explained 
by that fascinating word "danger." Five 
minutes before I would have smiled at the 
suggestion that I visit a foreign country on 
so quixotic an errand; but the situation 
was, after all, as simple as it was sudden in 
development, and my uncle's earnest voice 


The Fate of a Crown 

and eyes emphasized his request in no 
uncertain manner. Would I go ? Would 
I, a young man on the threshold of life, 
with pulses readily responding to the sug- 
gestion of excitement and adventure, leave 
my humdrum existence in a mercantile 
establishment to mingle in the intrigues of 
a nation striving to cast off the shackles of 
a monarchy and become free and inde- 
pendent ? My answer was assured. 

Nevertheless, we Harcliffes are chary 
of exhibiting emotion. Any eagerness on 
my part would, I felt, have seriously dis- 
pleased my reserved and deliberate uncle. 
Therefore I occupied several minutes in 
staring thoughtfully through the open win- 
dow before I finally swung around in my 
chair and answered : 

"Yes, Uncle, I will go." 

"Thank you," said he, a flush of pleas- 
ure spreading over his fine old face. Then 
he turned again to the letter in the blue 
envelope. "The Castina sails on Wednes- 
day, I see, and Dom Miguel wishes his new 
secretary to go on her. Therefore you 


The Blue Envelope 

must interview Captain Lertine at once, 
and arrange for passage." 

"Very well, sir." 

I took my hat, returned my uncle's 
grave bow, and left the office. 




The Castina was a Brazilian trading- 
ship frequently employed by the firm of 
Harcliffe Brothers to transport merchan- 
dise from New Orleans to Rio de Janiero. 
I had formed a slight acquaintance with 
the master, Pedro Lertine, and was not 
surprised when he placed his own state- 
room at my disposal; for although the 
vessel usually carried passengers, the cabin 
accommodations were none of the best. 

The Captain asked no questions con- 
cerning my voyage, contenting himself with 
the simple statement that he had often 
carried my father with him in the Castina 
in former years, and was now pleased to 
welcome the son aboard. He exhibited 
rare deference toward my uncle, Nelson 
Harcliffe, as the head of our firm, when the 
old gentleman came to the head of the levee 
to bid me good by; this Uncle Nelson 



did by means of a gentle pressure of my 
hand. I am told the Harcliffes are always 
remarkable for their reserve, and certainly 
the head of our house was an adept at 
repressing his emotions. Neither he nor 
my father, who had been his associate in 
founding the successful mercantile estab- 
lishment, had ever cared to make any 
intimate friends; and for this reason the 
warmth of friendship evinced by Uncle 
Nelson in sending me on this peculiar mis- 
sion to Dom Miguel de Pintra had caused 
me no little astonishment. 

After his simple handshake my uncle 
walked back to his office, and I immediately 
boarded the Castina to look after the placing 
of my trunks. Before I had fairly settled 
myself in my cozy state-room we were under 
way and steaming down the river toward 
the open sea. 

On deck I met a young gentleman of 
rather prepossessing personality who seemed 
quite willing to enter into conversation. He 
was a dark-eyed, handsome Brazilian, well 
dressed and of pleasing manners. His 
card bore the inscription, Manuel Cortes 


The Fate of a Crown 

de Guarde. He expressed great delight at 
finding me able to speak his native tongue, 
and rendered himself so agreeable that we 
had soon established very cordial relations. 
He loved to talk, and I love to listen, 
especially when I am able to gather infor- 
mation by so doing, and de Guarde seemed 
to know Brazil perfectly, and to delight in 
describing it. I noticed that he never 
touched on politics, but from his general 
conversation I gleaned considerable knowl- 
edge of the country I was about to visit. 

During dinner he chattered away con- 
tinually in his soft Portuguese patois, and 
the other passengers, less than a dozen in 
number, seemed content to allow him to 
monopolize the conversation. I noticed 
that Captain Lertine treated de Guarde 
with fully as much consideration as he did 
me, while the other passengers he seemed 
to regard with haughty indifference. How- 
ever, I made the acquaintance of several 
of my fellow-voyagers and found them both 
agreeable and intelligent. 

I had promised myself a pleasant, quiet 
voyage to the shores of Brazil, but pres- 



ently events began to happen with a rapidity 
that startled me. Indeed, it was not long 
before I received a plain intimation that I 
had embarked upon an adventure that 
might prove dangerous. 

We were two days out, and the night 
fell close and warm. Finding my berth 
insufferably oppressive I arose about mid- 
night, partially dressed, and went on deck 
to get whatever breeze might be stirring. 
It was certainly cooler than below, and 
reclining in the shadow beside a poop I had 
nearly succeeded in falling asleep when 
aroused by the voices of two men who 
approached and paused to lean over the 
taffrail. They proved to be Captain Ler- 
tine and de Guarde, and I was about to 
announce my presence when the mention 
of my own name caused me to hesitate. 

"I cannot understand why you should 
suspect young Harcliffe," the Captain said. 

"Because, of all your passengers, he 
would be most fitted to act as de Pintra's 
secretary," was the reply. "And, more- 
over, he is a Harcliffe." 

"That's just it, senhor," declared the 


The Fate of a Crown 

other; "he is a Harcliffe, and since his 
father's death, one of the great firm of 
Harcliffe Brothers. It is absurd to think 
one of his position would go to Brazil to 
serve Miguel de Pintra." 

"Perhaps the adventure entices him," 
returned de Guarde's soft voice, in reflective 
tones. " He is but lately from college, and 
his uncle may wish him to know something 
of Brazil, where the greater part of the 
Harcliffe fortune has been made." 

"Deus Meo!" exclaimed the Captain; 
"but you seem to know everything about 
everybody, my dear Valcour! However, 
this suspicion of young Harcliffe is nonsense, 
I assure you. You must look elsewhere 
for the new secretary provided, of course, 
he is on my ship." 

" Oh, he is doubtless on board," answered 
de Guarde, with a low, confident laugh. 
" De Pintra's letters asked that a man be 
sent on the first ship bound for Rio, and 
Nelson Harcliffe is known to act promptly 
in all business matters. Moreover, I have 
studied carefully the personality of each of 
your passengers, and none of them seems 



fitted for the post so perfectly as young Har- 
cliffe himself. I assure you, my dear Lertine, 
that I am right. He can be going out for 
no other purpose than to assist de Pintra." 

The Captain whistled softly. 

"Therefore ?" he murmured. 

"Therefore," continued de Guarde, 
gravely, "it is my duty to prevent his reach- 
ing his destination." 

"You will have him arrested when we 
reach Rio ?" 

"Arrested? No, indeed. Those Ameri- 
cans at Washington become peevish if we 
arrest one of their citizens, however criminal 
he may be. The situation demands deli- 
cate treatment, and my orders are positive. 
Our new secretary for the revolution must 
not reach Rio." 

Again the Captain whistled a vague 
melody with many false and uncertain notes. 
And the other remained silent. 

Naturally I found the conversation most 
interesting, and no feeling of delicacy pre- 
vented my straining my ears to catch more 
of it. It was the Captain who broke the 
long silence. 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Nevertheless, my dear Valcour * 

"De Guarde, if you please." 

"Nevertheless, de Guarde, our Mr. Har- 
cliffe may be innocent, and merely journey- 
ing to Brazil on business." 

"I propose to satisfy myself on that 
point. Great God, man! do you think I 
love this kind of work even for the Em- 
peror's protection ? But my master is just, 
though forced at times to act with seeming 
cruelty. I must be sure that Harcliffe is 
going to Brazil as secretary to the rebel 
leader, and you must aid me in deter- 
mining the fact. When our man goes to 
breakfast in the morning I will examine his 
room for papers. The pass-key is on the 
bunch you gave me, I suppose ? " 

"Yes, it is there." 

"Very well. Join your passengers at 
breakfast, and should Mr. Harcliffe leave 
the table on any pretext, see that I am duly 

" Certainly, senhor." 

"And now I am going to bed. Good 
night, Lertine." 

"Good night, de Guarde." 



They moved cautiously away, and a few 
minutes later I followed, regaining my 
state-room without encountering any one. 

Once in my bunk I lay revolving the 
situation in my mind. Evidently it was far 
from safe to involve one's self in Brazilian 
politics. My friend Valcour, as the Cap- 
tain had called him, was a spy of the Em- 
peror, masquerading under the title of 
Senhor Manuel Cortes de Guarde. A 
clever fellow, indeed, despite his soft, femi- 
nine ways and innocent chatter, and one 
who regarded even murder as permissible 
in the execution of his duty to Dom Pedro. 
It was the first time in my life I had been, 
to my knowledge, in any personal danger, 
and the sensation was rather agreeable than 

It astonished me to discover that de 
Guarde knew so perfectly the contents of 
Dom Miguel's letter to my uncle. Doubt- 
less the secret police had read and made a 
copy of it before the blue envelope had 
been permitted to leave Brazil. But in that 
case, I could not understand why they had 
allowed the missive to reach its destination. 


The Fate of a Crown 

In his cool analysis of the situation, my 
friend the spy had unerringly hit upon the 
right person as the prospective secretary of 
the revolutionary leader. Yet he had no 
positive proof, and it was pleasant to reflect 
that in my possession were no papers of any 
sort that might implicate me. Uncle Nelson 
had even omitted the customary letter of 

" De Pintra knew your father, and your 
face will therefore vouch for your identity," 
the old gentleman had declared. Others 
have remarked upon the strong resemblance 
I bear my father, and I had no doubt de 
Pintra would recognize me. But, in ad- 
dition, I had stored in my memory a secret 
word that would serve as talisman in case 
of need. 

The chances of my puzzling Dom Pedro's 
detective were distinctly in my favor, and I 
was about to rest content in that knowledge, 
when an idea took possession of me that 
promised so much amusement that I could 
not resist undertaking it. It may be that 
I was influenced by a mild chagrin at the 
deception practised upon me by de Guarde, 



or the repulsion that a secret-service man 
always inspires in the breast of a civilian. 
Anyway, I resolved to pit my wits against 
those of Senhor Valcour, and having formu- 
lated my plan I fell asleep and rested com- 
fortably until daybreak. 

It had been my habit to carry with me 
a pocket diary, inscribing therein any vivid 
impressions or important events that oc- 
curred to me. There were many blank 
pages, for my life had been rather barren 
of incident of late; but I had resolved to 
keep a record of this trip and for this pur- 
pose the little book was now lying upon 
the low shelf that served as table in my 

Arising somewhat before my usual hour 
I made a hurried toilet and sat down to 
make entries in my diary. I stated that 
my sudden desire to visit Brazil was due to 
curiosity, and that my uncle had placed 
several minor business matters in my hands 
to attend to. My return to New Orleans 
would depend entirely upon how well I 
liked the country where our house had 
so successfully traded for a half-century. 


The Fate of a Crown 

Arriving at this point, I added the following 
paragraphs : 

" On the ship with me Uncle Nelson is sending a private 
secretary to Dom Miguel de Pintra, who, it seems, was an 
ancient customer of our house, but is now more interested 
in politics than in commerce. This secretary is a remark- 
able fellow, yet so placid and unassuming that no one is 
likely to suspect his mission. He seems to know every- 
thing, and has astonished me by his intimate knowledge 
of all that transpires upon the ship. For example, he tells 
me that my friend de Guarde, of whom I have already 
grown fond, is none other than a certain Valcour, well 
known in the secret service of his majesty the Emperor of 
Brazil. Valcour is on board because he knows the con- 
tents of a letter written by de Pintra to my uncle, asking 
for a shrewd American to become his private secretary; 
also Valcour is instructed to dispose of the rebel secretary 
before we land at Rio meaning, of course, to murder 
him secretly. This seemingly horrible plot but amuses 
our secretary, for Valcour has only poor Captain Lertine 
to aid him, whereas the wonderful American has a follow- 
ing of desperate men trained to deeds of bloodshed who 
will obey his slightest nod. From what I learn I am 
confident the plan is to assassinate my friend Valcour 
in a secret manner, for here is a rare opportunity to rid 
themselves of a hated royalist spy. Poor de Guarde ! 
I would like to warn him of his danger, but dare not. 
Even then, I doubt his ability to escape. The toils are 
dosing about him, even while he innocently imagines 


that he, as the Emperor's agent, controls the situation. 
It would all be laughable, were it not so very terrible in 
its tragic aspect. 

"But there! I must not mix with politics, but strive 
to hold aloof from either side. The secretary, though 
doubtless a marvel of diplomacy and duplicity, is too 
unscrupulous to suit me. He has actually corrupted 
the entire crew, from the engineers down, and at his word 
I am assured the fellows would mutiny and seize the ship. 
What chance has my poor friend de Guarde or Valcour 
to escape this demon ? Yet, after all, it is not my affair, 
and I dare not speak." 

This entry I intended to puzzle Senhor 
Valcour, even if it failed to wholly deceive 
him. I wrote it with assumed carelessness, 
to render it uniform with the former para- 
graphs the book contained. These last 
were of a trivial nature, dating back for 
some months. They would interest no one 
but myself; yet I expected them to be 
read, for I left the diary lying upon my 
shelf, having first made a number of pin- 
marks in the paint, at the edges of the 
cover, so that I might assure myself, on 
my return to the room, whether or not the 
book had been disturbed. 

This task completed, I locked the door 


The Fate of a Crown 

behind me and cheerfully joined the break- 
fast party in the main cabin. 

De Guarde was not present, but no one 
seemed to miss him, and we lingered long 
in light conversation over the meal, as it is 
the custom of passengers aboard a slow- 
going ship. 

Afterward, when I went on deck, I dis- 
covered de Guarde leaning over the rail, 
evidently in deep thought. As I strolled 
past him, puffing my cigar, he turned 
around, and the sight of his face, white and 
stern, positively startled me. The soft dark 
eyes had lost their confident, merry look, 
and bore a trace of fear. No need to 
examine the pin-marks on my shelf. The 
Emperor's spy had, without doubt, read 
the false entry in my diary, and it had im- 
pressed him beyond my expectation. 




During the remainder of the voyage I 
had little intercourse with Senhor Manuel 
Cortes de Guarde. Indeed, I had turned 
the tables quite cleverly upon the spy, who 
doubtless imagined many dangers in ad- 
dition to those indicated in my diary. For 
my part, I became a bit ashamed of the 
imposition I had practised, despite the 
fact that the handsome young Brazilian 
had exhibited a perfect willingness to 
assassinate me in the Emperor's interests. 
Attracted toward him in spite of my dis- 
coveries, I make several attempts to resume 
our former friendly intercourse; but he 
recoiled from my overtures and shunned 
my society. 

In order to impress upon de Guarde the 
truth of the assertions I had made in the 
diary I selected a young physician, a Dr. 
Neel, to impersonate the intriguing and 


The Fate of a Crown 

bloodthirsty American secretary. He was 
a quiet, unobtrusive fellow, with an in- 
telligent face, and a keen, inquiring look in 
his eyes. I took occasion to confide to 
Dr. Neel, in a mysterious manner that must 
have amused him, that I was afflicted with 
an incomprehensible disease. He promptly 
mistook me for a hypochondriac, and 
humored me in a good-natured fashion, so 
that we were frequently observed by de 
Guarde in earnest and confidential con- 
versation. My ruse proved effective. Of- 
ten I surprised a look of anxiety upon the 
Brazilian's face as he watched Dr. Neel 
from a distance; but de Guarde took 
pains not to mingle with any group that the 
physician made part of, and it was evident 
the detective had no longer any desire to pre- 
cipitate a conflict during the voyage to Rio. 
I do not say that Valcour was cowardly. 
In his position I am positive I could riot 
have escaped the doubts that so evidently 
oppressed him. He secluded himself in his 
state-room, under pretense of illness, as we 
drew nearer to Brazil, and I was consider- 
ably relieved to have him out of the way. 


A Good Republican 

Captain Lertine, to whom Valcour had 
evidently confided his discovery of the 
diary, was also uneasy during those days, 
and took occasion to ask me many questions 
about Dr. Neel, which I parried in a way 
that tended to convince him that the physi- 
cian was none other than the secret emissary 
sent by my uncle to Miguel de Pintra. The 
good Captain was nervous over the safety 
of the ship, telling me in a confidential way 
that nearly all his crew were new hands, 
and that he had no confidence in their 
loyalty to the Emperor. 

His face bore an expression of great 
relief when we anchored in the bay of Rio 
de Janiero on a clear June morning at day- 
break, and no time was lost in transferring 
the passengers of the Castina to a small 
steam launch, which soon landed us and 
our effects upon the quay. 

I had not seen Valcour since we anchored, 
but after bidding good by to Dr. Neel, 
who drove directly to his hotel, I caught a 
glimpse of the detective's eager face as he 
followed the doctor in a cab. 

The whole affair struck me as being a 


The Fate of a Crown 

huge joke, and the sensation of danger 
that I experienced on board the ship was 
dissolved by the bright sunshine and the 
sight of the great city calmly awakening 
and preparing for its usual daily round of 

I dispatched my trunks to the Conti- 
nental Railway station, and finding that I 
had ample time determined to follow them 
on foot, the long walk being decidedly 
grateful after the days on shipboard. Much 
as I longed to see the beauties of Brazil's 
famous capital, I dared not at this time 
delay to do so, as my uncle had impressed 
upon me the necessity of presenting myself 
to de Pintra as soon as possible after my 

Another thing that influenced me was 
the deception that I had practised upon 
the detective. Valcour, with the Emperor 
at his back, was now a power to be reckoned 
with, and as soon as he discovered that I 
had misled him the police would doubtless 
be hot upon my trail. So my safest plan 
was to proceed at once to the province where 
my new chief had power to protect me. 


A Good Republican 

I reached the railway station without 
difficulty and found I had a quarter of an 
hour to spare. 

"Give me a ticket to Cuyaba," I said 
to the clerk at the window. 

He stared at me as he handed the card 
through the grating. 

"Matto Grosso train, senhor," he said. 
"It leaves at eight o'clock." 

"Thank you," I returned, moving away. 

A tall policeman in an odd uniform of 
black and gold barred my way. 

'Your pardon, senhor Americano," said 
he, touching his visor in salute; "I beg 
you to follow me quietly." 

He turned on his heel and marched 
away, and I, realizing that trouble had 
already overtaken me, followed him to the 

A patrol was drawn up at the curb, a 
quaint-looking vehicle set low between four 
high wheels and covered with canvas. 
Startled at the sight I half turned, with a 
vague idea of escape, and confronted two 
stout policemen at my rear. 

Resistance seemed useless. I entered 


The Fate of a Crown 

the wagon, my captor seating himself upon 
the bench beside me. Instantly we whirled 
away at a rapid pace. 

I now discerned two men, also in uni- 
form, upon the front seat. One was driving 
the horses, and presently the other climbed 
over the seat and sat opposite my guard. 

The tall policeman frowned. 

"Why are you here, Marco?" he de- 
manded, in a threatening voice. 

"For this!" was the prompt answer; 
and with the words I caught a quick flash 
as the man called Marco buried a knife 
to the hilt in the other's breast. 

My captor scarce uttered a sound as he 
pitched headforemost upon the floor of the 
now flying wagon. The driver had but 
given a glance over his shoulder and lashed 
his horses to their utmost speed. 

Cold with horror at the revolting deed 
I gazed into the dark eyes of the murderer. 
He smiled as he answered my look and 
shrugged his shoulders as if excusing the 

"A blow for freedom, senhor!" he 
announced, in his soft, native patois. 


A Good Republican 

"Dom Miguel would be grieved were you 
captured by the police." 

I started. 

" Dom Miguel ! You know him, then ? " 

"Assuredly, senhor. You are the new 
secretary. Otherwise you would not be so 
foolish as to demand a ticket to Cuyaba 
the seat of the revolution." 

"I begin to understand," I said, after 
a moment's thought. "You are of the 
police ?" 

"Sergeant Marco, senhor; at your ser- 
vice. And I have ventured to kill our dear 
lieutenant in order to insure your safety. 
I am sorry," he added, gently touching the 
motionless form that lay between us; "the 
lieutenant was a good comrade but a per- 
sistent royalist." 

"Where are you taking me?" I asked. 

"To a suburban crossing, where you 
may catch the Matto Grosso train." 

"And you?" 

" I ? I am in no danger, senhor. It 
is you who have done this cruel deed and 
you will escape. The driver a true pa- 
triot will join me in accusing you." 


The Fate of a Crown 

I nodded, my horror of the tragedy 
growing each moment. Truly this revolu- 
tionary party must be formed of desperate 
and unscrupulous men, who hesitated at 
no crime to advance their interests. If 
the royalists were but half so cruel I had 
indeed ventured into a nest of adders. And 
it was the thought of Valcour's confessed 
purpose to murder me on shipboard that 
now sealed my lips from a protest against 
this deed that was to be laid upon my 

Presently the wagon slowed up, stopping 
with a jerk that nearly threw me from my 
seat. The sergeant alighted and assisted 
me to follow him. 

We were at a deserted crossing, and the 
buildings of the city lay scattered a quarter 
of a mile away. 

"Take this flag, senhor. The engineer 
will stop to let you aboard. Farewell, and 
kindly convey my dutiful respects to Dom 

As the wagon rolled away the train came 
gliding from the town, and I stepped be- 
tween the tracks and waved the flag as 


A Good Republican 

directed. The engine slowed down, stopped 
a brief instant, and I scrambled aboard as 
the train recovered speed and moved swiftly 

For the present, at least, I was safe. 

Quite unobtrusively I seated myself in 
the rear end of the passenger coach and 
gazed from the window as we rushed along, 
vainly endeavoring to still the nervous 
beating of my heart and to collect and cen- 
ter my thoughts upon the trying situation 
in which I found myself. Until the last 
hour I had been charmed with my mission 
to Brazil, imagining much pleasure in acting 
as secretary to a great political leader 
engaged in a struggle for the freedom of his 
country. The suggestion of danger my 
post involved had not frightened me, nor 
did it even now; but I shrank from the 
knowledge that cold-blooded assassination 
was apparently of little moment to these 
conspirators. In less than two hours after 
landing at Rio I found myself fleeing from 
the police, with a foul and revolting murder 
fastened upon me in the name of the revolu- 
tion ! Where would it all end ? Did Uncle 


The Fate of a Crown 

Nelson thoroughly realize the terrible nature 
of the political plot into which he had so 
calmly thrust me ? Probably not. But 
already I knew that Brazil was a dangerous 
country and sheltered a hot-headed and 
violent people. 

It was a long and dreary ride as we 
mounted the grade leading to the table- 
lands of the interior. Yet the country was 
beautifully green and peaceful under the 
steady glare of the sun, and gradually my 
distress passed away and left me more 

Neither the passengers nor trainmen 
paid the slightest attention to me, and 
although at first I looked for arrest at every 
station where we halted, there was no 
indication that the police of Rio had dis- 
covered my escape and flight. 

Night came at last, and I dozed fitfully 
during the long hours, although still too 
nervous for sound sleep. We breakfasted 
at a way-station, and a couple of hours 
later, as I was gazing thoughtfully out the 
window, the conductor aroused me by 
settling into the seat at my side. He was a 


A Good Republican 

short, pudgy individual, and wheezed 
asthmatically with every breath. 

"I received a telegram at the last sta- 
tion," he confided to me, choking and 
coughing between the words. "It instruct- 
ed me to arrest an American senhor trav- 
eling to Cuyaba. Have you seen him ?" 

I shivered, and stared back into his 
dull eyes. 

"Ah! I thought not," he continued, 
with a short laugh. "It is not the first 
telegram they have sent this trip from Rio, 
you know ; but I cannot find the fellow any- 
where aboard. Do you wonder ? How can 
I be expected to distinguish an American 
from a Brazilian ? Bah ! I am not of the 

I began to breathe again. The conduc- 
tor nudged my ribs with his elbow. 

"These police will perhaps be at the 
station. Cuyaba is the next stop. But we 
will slow up, presently, at a curve near the 
edge of the forest. Were I the American, 
and aboard this train, I would get out there, 
and wait among the trees in the forest until 
Dom Miguel's red cart comes along. But, 


The Fate of a Crown 

ai de mim, the American is not here ! Eh ? 
Thank God for it! But I must leave, 
senhor. Good day to you." 

He bustled away, and at once I seized 
my traveling-bag and slipped out to the 
back platform. We slowed up at the curve 
a moment later, and I sprang to the ground 
and entered the shade of a group of trees 
that marked the edge of the little forest. 

And there I sat upon a fallen tree- 
trunk for two weary hours, wondering what 
would happen next, and wishing with all 
my heart I had never ventured into this 
intrigue-ridden country. But at the end 
of that time I heard the rattle of a wagon 
and the regular beat of a horse's feet. 

Peering from my refuge I discerned a 
red cart slowly approaching over the road 
that wound between the railway track and 
the forest. It was driven by a sleepy 
Brazilian boy in a loose white blouse and a 
wide straw hat. 

As he arrived opposite me I stepped out 
and hailed him. 

" Are you from Dom Miguel de Pintra ?" 
I asked. 


A Good Republican 

He nodded. 

"I am the American he is expecting," 
I continued, and climbed to the seat beside 
him. He showed no surprise at my action, 
nor, indeed, any great interest in the 
meeting; but as soon as I was seated he 
whipped up the horse, which developed 
unexpected speed, and we were soon rolling 
swiftly over the country road. 




The province of Matto Grosso is very 
beautiful, the residences reminding one 
greatly of English country estates, except 
that their architecture is on the stiff Por- 
tuguese order. At least a half-mile sepa- 
rated the scattered mansions from one 
another, and the grounds were artistically 
planned and seemingly well cared for. 
At this season the rich, luxuriant foliage of 
Brazil was at its best, and above all brooded 
a charming air of peace that was extremely 
comforting after my late exciting experi- 
ences. We met few people on the way, 
and these were peasants, who touched their 
hats respectfully as we passed. 

We had driven some five miles when we 
came to an estate rather more extensive 
than its neighbors, for the hedge of bloom- 
ing cactus that divided the grounds from 
the roadway ran in an unbroken line as far 
as the eye could reach. 


The Chieftain 

However, we came to a gateway at last 
and turned into the grounds, where magnifi- 
cent trees shaded a winding drive ascend- 
ing to the fine old mansion of de Pintra. 

A man stood upon the porch shading his 
eyes with his hand and gazing at us as we 
approached. When I alighted from the 
cart he came down the steps to meet me, 
bowing very courteously, and giving my 
hand a friendly pressure. No other person 
was in sight, and the red cart had disap- 
peared around the corner of the house. 

: *You are welcome, sir," he said, in a 
quiet but most agreeable voice. :< You 
come from my friend Nelson Harcliffe ? 
That was my thought." He paused to 
give me a keen look, and then smiled a 
sweet, winning smile such as I have seldom 
seen. "Ah! may you not be a Harcliffe 
yourself ? Your features seem quite familiar. 
But, pardon me, sir; I have not introduced 
myself. I am Miguel de Pintra." 

I fear I stared at him with somewhat 
rude intentness, for Dom Miguel was a 
man to arouse interest in any beholder. 
Tall, spare, but not ungraceful, his snow- 


The Fate of a Crown 

white hair and beard made strong contrast 
with his bronzed features. His eyes, soft 
and gentle in expression, were black. His 
smile, which was not frequent, disclosed a 
line of even, white teeth. His dress was a 
suit of plain, well-fitting black, supple- 
mented by irreproachable linen. Taken 
altogether, Dom Miguel appeared a model 
of the old school of gentility, which may be 
as quickly recognized in Brazil as in Eng- 
land, France or America. Indeed, it seemed 
an absurdity to connect this eminently 
respectable personage with revolutions, mur- 
ders, and intrigue, and my spirits rose the 
moment I set eyes upon his pleasant face. 

"I am Robert Harcliffe," said I, an- 
swering the question his politeness would 
not permit him to ask; "the son of Marshall 

A flash of surprise and delight swept over 
his dark face. He seized both my hands 
in his own. 

"What!" he cried, "Nelson Harcliffe 
has sent me his own nephew, the son of 
my dear old friend ? This is, indeed, a 
rare expression of loyalty!" 


The Chieftain 

"I thought you knew," I rejoined, 
rather embarrassed, for the fathomless eyes 
were reading me with singular eagerness. 

"I only knew that Nelson Harcliffe 
would respond promptly to my requests. 
I knew that the Castina would bring my 
secretary to Brazil. But whom he might 
be I could not even guess." He paused a 
moment, to continue in a graver tone: "I 
am greatly pleased. I need a friend a 
faithful assistant." 

"I hope I may prove to be both, sir," 
I returned, earnestly. "But you seem not 
to lack loyal friends. On my way hither 
from Rio de Janiero I have been pro- 
tected more than once, doubtless by your 

'Yes; the cause has many true adhe- 
rents, and I notified our people to expect an 
American gentleman on the Castina and 
to forward him to me in safety. They 
know, therefore, that you came to assist the 
Revolution, and it would have been strange, 
indeed, had the royalists been able to 
interfere with you." 

"Your party is more powerful than I 


The Fate of a Crown 

had suspected," I remarked, thinking of 
my several narrow escapes from arrest. 

"We are only powerful because the 
enemy is weak," answered Dom Miguel, 
with a sigh. "Neither side is ready for 
combat, or even an open rupture. It is now 
the time of intrigue, of plot and counterplot, 
of petty conspiracies and deceits. These 
would discourage any honest heart were not 
the great Cause behind it all were not the 
struggle for freedom and our native land! 
But come; you are weary. Let me show 
you to your room, Robert Harcliffe." 

He dwelt upon the name with seeming 
tenderness, and I began to understand why 
my father and my stern Uncle Nelson had 
both learned to love this kindly natured 
gentleman of Brazil. 

He led me through cool and spacious 
passages to a cozy room on the ground floor, 
which, he told me, connected by a door 
with his study or work-room. 

"I fear my trunks have been seized by 
the government," said I, and then related 
to him the details of my arrest and the 
assassination of the police lieutenant. 


The Chieftain 

He listened to the story calmly and with- 
out interruption; but when it was finished 
he said: 

"All will be reported to me this evening, 
and then we will see whether your baggage 
cannot be saved. There were no papers 
that might incriminate you?" 

"None whatever." 

Then I gave him the story of Valcour, 
or de Guarde, and he smiled when I 
related the manner in which the fellow had 
been deceived. 

"I knew that Valcour had been dis- 
patched to intercept my secretary," said 
he, "and you must know that this per- 
sonage is not an ordinary spy, but attached 
to the Emperor himself as a special detec- 
tive. Hereafter," he continued, reflectively, 
"the man will be your bitter enemy; and 
although you have outwitted him once he 
is a foe not to be despised. Indeed, 
Harcliffe, your post is not one of much 
security. If, when I have taken you fully 
into our confidence, you decide to link your 
fortunes to those of the Revolution, it will 
be with the full knowledge that your life 


The Fate of a Crown 

may be the forfeit. But there we will 
speak no more of business until after dinner." 

He left me, then, with many cordial 
expressions of friendship. 

A servant brought my luncheon on a 
tray, and after eating it I started for a 
stroll through the grounds, enjoying the 
fragrance and brilliance of the flowers, the 
beauties of the shrubbery, and the stately 
rows of ancient trees. The quiet of the 
place suggested nothing of wars and revolu- 
tions, and it was with real astonishment 
that I reflected that this establishment was 
the central point of that conspiracy whose 
far-reaching power had been so vividly 
impressed upon me. 

Engaged in this thought I turned the 
corner of a hedge and came face to face 
with a young girl, who recoiled in surprise 
and met my gaze with a sweet embarrass- 
ment that caused me to drop my own eyes 
in confusion. 

"Your pardon, senhorita !" I exclaimed, 
and stood aside for her to pass. 

She nodded, still searching my face with 
her clear eyes, but making no movement to 


The Chieftain 

proceed. I noted the waves of color sweep- 
ing over her fair face and the nervous ten- 
sion of the little hands that pressed a mass 
of flowers to her bosom. Evidently she 
was struggling for courage to address me; 
so I smiled at her, reassuringly, and again 
bowed in my best manner, for I was not 
ill pleased at the encounter. 

I have always had a profound rev- 
erence for woman especially those fa- 
vored ones to whom Nature has vouch- 
safed beauty in addition to the charm of 
womanhood. And here before me stood 
the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, a 
type of loveliness more sweet and delightful 
than any I had even dreamed could exist. 

It was my fate to recognize this in the 
moments that I stood watching her lips 
tremble in the endeavor to form her first 
words to me. 

'You are the American?" she asked, 

"Assuredly, donzella. Permit me to 
introduce myself. I am Robert Harcliffe." 

"My uncle expected you," she said, 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Your uncle?" 

"Dom Miguel is not really my uncle," 
answered the girl; "but he permits me to 
call him so, since he is my guardian. Yet 
it was not from him I learned of your 
arrival, but from Francisco, who traveled 
from Rio on the same train." 

My face doubtless showed that I was 
puzzled, for she added, quickly: 

"Francisco is my brother, senhor. We 
are both devoted heart and soul to the 
Cause. That is why I felt that I must 
speak with you, why I must welcome you 
to our fellowship, why I must implore you 
to be strong and steadfast in our behalf!" 

I smiled at the vehemence that had 
vanquished her former hesitation, and to 
my delight her exquisite face lighted with 
an answering smile. 

"Ah, you may laugh at me with im- 
punity, senhor Americano, for I have 
intuitions, and they tell me you will be 
faithful to the cause of freedom. Nay, do 
not protest. It is enough that I have read 
your face." 

With this she made a pretty courtesy 


The Chieftain 

and vanished around the hedge before i 
could summon a word to detain her. 

It is astonishing to what an extent this 
encounter aroused my enthusiasm for "the 
Cause." Heretofore I had regarded it 
rather impersonally, as an affair in which 
I had engaged at the request of my good 
uncle. But now that I had met this fellow- 
conspirator and gazed into the enchanting 
depths of her eyes, I was tremendously eager 
to prove my devotion to the cause of 

True, I had seen the girl but a few 
moments. Even her name was unknown 
to me. But she was a rebel; Francisco, 
her brother, was a rebel ; and Dom Miguel 
permitted her to call him "uncle." Very 
good ; very good, indeed ! 

When I returned to my room I was 
surprised to find my trunks there, they 
having arrived in some mysterious way 
during my brief absence. 

I dressed for dinner and found my way 
to the drawing-room, where my host or 
my employer, rather was conversing with 
a lady and a gentleman. 


The Fate of a Crown 

There was no reason my heart should 
give that bound to warn me; no one could 
fail to recognize that slender, graceful 
figure, although it was now enveloped in 
dainty folds of soft white mulle. But she 
had no intention of allowing her chance 
meeting to stand for a formal introduction, 
and as Dom Miguel presented me she shot 
a demure yet merry glance at me from 
beneath her long lashes that might readily 
have effected my conquest had I not already 
surrendered without discretion. 

"The Senhorita Lesba Paola," an- 
nounced de Pintra, speaking the name with 
evident tenderness. Then he turned to the 
man. "Senhor Francisco Paola," said he. 

Francisco Paola puzzled me at that first 
meeting nearly as much as he did later. 
His thin form was dressed in a dandified 
manner that was almost ludicrous, and the 
fellow's affectation was something amazing. 
Somewhat older than his bewitching sister, 
his features were not without a sort of 
effeminate beauty, of which he seemed 
fully aware. At once I conceived him to 
be a mere popinjay, and had no doubt he 


The Chieftain 

would prove brainless and well-nigh in- 
sufferable. But Dom Miguel introduced 
Paola with grave courtesy and showed him 
so much deference that I could not well be 
ungracious to the young dandy. More- 
over, he had a stronger claim to my toler- 
ation: he was Lesba's brother. 

Scarcely were these introductions com- 
plete when another lady entered the room. 
She gave a slight start at sight of me, and 
then advanced gracefully to Dom Miguel's 

"My daughter, Mr. Harcliffe; Senhora 
Izabel de Mar," said he, and gave me a 
curious glance that I could not understand. 

I looked at Madam Izabel and lowered 
my eyes before the cold and penetrating 
stare I encountered. She was handsome 
enough, this woman ; but her features, how- 
ever regular, were repellant because of their 
absolute lack of expression a lack caused 
by repression more than a want of mobility. 
Her face seemed carved of old ivory. Even 
the great eyes were impenetrable, reflecting 
nothing of the emotions that might dwell 
within. I found myself shivering, and 
although I sincerely tried to be agreeable to 


The Fate of a Crown 

Dom Miguel's daughter, the result was 
little more than farcical. 

My sudden appearance in the household 
had evidently caused Madam Izabel sur- 
prise; perhaps it annoyed her, as well. But 
she drew me to a seat beside her and plied 
me with questions which I was at a loss how 
to answer, in view of the supposedly private 
nature of my mission to Brazil. Inwardly 
I blamed Dom Miguel for not telling me 
how far his daughter and his guests were in 
his confidence ; but before I blundered more 
than a few aimless sentences a light voice 
interrupted us and Francisco Paola leaned 
over Madam Izabel's chair with a vapid 
compliment on the lady's charms and per- 
sonal appearance that was fairly imperti- 
nent in its flippancy. 

The look she gave him would have si- 
lenced an ordinary man; but Senhor Fran- 
cisco smiled at her frown, took the fan from 
her hand, and wielded it in a mincing man- 
ner, pouring into her unwilling ears a 
flood of nonsense that effectually cut me 
out of the conversation. 

Dom Miguel came to my relief by re- 
questing me to take the younger lady in to 

[54] ' 

The Chieftain 

dinner, and to my surprise Madam Izabel 
took Paola's arm without apparent reluc- 
tance and followed us to the dining-room. 

The repast would have been, I fear, 
rather stupid, but for Senhor Francisco's 
ceaseless chatter. To my great disappoint- 
ment the donzella Lesba Paola appeared 
exceedingly shy, and I could scarce recog- 
nize in her my eager questioner of the 
afternoon. De Pintra, indeed, courteously 
endeavored to draw the ladies into a 
general conversation; but his daughter was 
cold and unresponsive, and the host him- 
self appeared to be in a thoughtful mood. 
For my part, I was glad to have the fop 
monopolize the conversation, while I de- 
voted my attention to the silent girl beside 
me; but it was evident that a general 
feeling of relief prevailed when the ladies 
returned to the drawing-room and left us 
to our cigars and wine. 

When the servants had been dismissed 
and we three men were alone, Dom Miguel 
addressed me with unrestrained frankness. 

" I suppose you know little of our revolu- 
tionary movement, Mr. Harcliffe," he began. 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Very little, indeed," I responded, briefly. 

"It dates back for several years, but has 
only recently attained to real importance. 
Gradually our people, of all degrees, have 
awakened to the knowledge that they must 
resist the tyranny of the imperial govern- 
ment, with its horde of selfish and unscru- 
pulous retainers. The Emperor is honest 
enough, but weak, and his advisors leave 
him no exercise of his own royal will. 
Spurred by the nation's distress, the Revo- 
lution has at last taken definite form, and at 
present centers in me. But as our strength 
grows our danger increases. The existing 
government, knowing itself threatened, has 
become keen to ferret out our secrets and to 
discover the leaders of the Cause, that they 
may crush all with one blow." He paused, 
and flicked the ash from his cigar with a 
thoughtful gesture. "For this, and many 
another reason, I need the assistance of a 
secretary whom I may trust implicitly who 
will, if need be, die rather than betray my 

I glanced hesitatingly at the man oppo- 
site me. It seemed strange that Dom 


The Chieftain 

Miguel should speak of these personal mat- 
ters before a third party. 

Paola was trying to balance a spoon upon 
the edge of his glass. He met my gaze with 
the usual vacant smile upon his face, yet 
in the instant I caught a gleam in his eye so 
shrewd and comprehensive that it positively 
startled me. Instantly his face was shrouded 
in a cloud of smoke from his cigar, and 
when it cleared away the idiotic leer that 
appeared upon his countenance indicated 
anything rather than intelligence. 

Dom Miguel looked from one to the other 
of us and smiled. 

"Perhaps I should tell you," said he, 
earnestly, "that no man is higher in our 
counsels or more thoroughly esteemed by 
all classes of patriots than Francisco Paola. 
You may speak in his presence with entire 

At this the popinjay twisted the end of 
his moustache and bowed with mock dig- 
nity. I stared at him with an astonishment 
tinged with disgust. His eyes were now 
glassy and his gaze vacuous. The eternal 
smile expressed merely stupidity and conceit. 


The Fate of a Crown 

I turned to Dom Miguel, who gravely 
awaited my reply. 

"Sir," said I, "you are my father's old 
friend. My uncle, who was my father's 
partner and is now my own associate in 
business, sent me to you with the injunction 
to serve you to the best of my ability. This, 
by way of gratitude for many favors shown 
our house by you in the days when a friend 
counted largely for success. Being an Amer- 
ican, I love freedom. Your cause shall be 
my cause while I remain with you. Of my 
power to serve you there may be question; 
but my loyalty you need never doubt." 

Dom Miguel reached across the table 
and grasped my hand warmly. Paola 
poured himself a glass of wine and drank 
to me with a nod of his head. 

"When first I saw you," said de Pintra, 
with emotion, "I knew we had gained a 
strong ally, and God knows we need trust- 
worthy friends at this juncture. The great 
Revolution, which is destined some day to 
sweep Brazil from Para to Rio Grande do 
Sul, is now in my keeping. In my posses- 
sion are papers wherein are inscribed the 


The Chieftain 

names of the patriots who have joined our 
Cause; to me has been intrusted the treasure 
accumulated for years to enable us to carry 
out our plans. Even those plans carefully 
formulated and known to but a few of my 
associates, the trusted leaders are confided 
to my care. I cannot risk a betrayal that 
would imperil the Revolution itself and 
destroy all those concerned in it, by employ- 
ing for secretary a Brazilian, who might 
become a spy of Dom Pedro, or be fright- 
ened by threats and imprisonment." 

Leaning forward, he regarded me ear- 
estly. His eyes, so gentle in repose, now 
searched my own with fierce intensity. 

" I cannot even trust my own household," 
he whispered; "my own flesh and blood has 
been suspected of treason to the Cause. 
There are spies everywhere, of both sexes, 
among the lowly and the gentle. So I ac- 
cept your services, Robert Harcliffe, and 
thank you in the name of the Revolution." 

It was all rather theatric, but I could not 
question the sincerity of his speech, and it 
succeeding in impressing me with the gravity 
of my new position. 


The Fate of a Crown 

" Come," said Paola, breaking the tense 
pause, "let us rejoin the ladies." 

Five minutes later he was at the piano, 
carolling a comic ditty, and I again won- 
dered what element this seemingly brazen 
and hollow vessel might contain that could 
win the respect of a man like Miguel de 
Pintra. Evidently I must, to some extent, 
glean a definite knowledge of the Revolution 
and its advocates through a process of ab- 
sorption. This would require time, as well 
as personal contact with Dom Miguel and 
his confreres, and my only hope of mastering 
the situation lay in a careful study of each 
personage I met and a cautious resistance 
of any temptation to judge them hastily. 
Nevertheless, this mocking, irrepressive 
Francisco Paola had from the first moment 
of his acquaintance become an astounding 
puzzle to me, and so far I could see no in- 
dication of any depths to his character that 
could explain the esteem in which he was 
held by the chief. 

But now his sister's sweet, upturned face 
drew me to her side, and I straightway for- 
got to dwell upon the problem. 




I slept well in my pleasant room, but 
wakened early, the bright sunshine pouring 
in at my open window and the songs of many 
birds sounding a lively chorus. 

After a simple toilet I sprang through a 
low window to the ground and wandered 
away among the flowers and shrubbery. It 
was in my thoughts to revisit the scene of 
my first meeting with Lesba, but I had no 
hope of finding her abroad at that hour until 
I caught a glimpse of her white gown through 
a small arbor. The vision enchanted me, 
and after pausing a moment to feast my eyes 
upon her loveliness, I hastily approached 
to find her cutting roses for the breakfast- 
table. She greeted me in her shy manner, 
but in a way that made me feel I was not in- 
truding. After a few conventional remarks 
she asked, abruptly: 

"How do you like Dom Miguel ?" 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Very much," said I, smiling at her 
eagerness. "He seems eminently worthy 
of the confidence reposed in him by his com- 

"He is a born leader of men," she re- 
joined, brightly, "and not a rebel of us all 
would hesitate to die for him. How do you 
like my brother ?" 

I was sorry she asked the question, for 
its abruptness nearly took my breath away, 
and I did not wish to grieve her. To gain 
time I laughed, and was answered with a 
frown that served to warn me. 

"Really, donzella," I made haste to say, 
" if I must be quite frank, your brother puz- 
zles me. But I think I shall like him when 
I understand him better." 

She shook her head as if disappointed. 

"No one ever understands Francisco 
but me," she returned, regretfully. 

"Does he understand himself?" I fool- 
ishly asked. 

The girl looked at me with a gleam of 

" Sir, my brother's services are recognized 
throughout all Brazil. Even Fonseca re- 


Madam Izabel 

spects his talents, and the suspicious Piexoto 
trusts him implicitly. Francisco's intimate 
friends positively adore him! Ah, senhor, 
it is not necessary for his sister to sing his 

I bowed gravely. 

"Let me hope, donzella, that your 
brother will soon count me among his inti- 
mates." It was the least I could say in 
answer to the pleading look in her eyes, and 
to my surprise it seemed to satisfy her, for 
she blushed with pleasure. 

"I am sure he likes you already," she 
announced; "for he told me so as he bade 
me good by this morning." 

* Your brother has gone away ?" 

"He started upon his return to court an 
hour ago." 

"To court!" I exclaimed, amazed at his 

She seemed amused. 

" Did you not know, senhor ? Francisco 
Paola is Dom Pedro's Minister of Police." 

I acknowledged that the news surprised 
me. That the Emperor's Minister of Police 
should be a trusted leader of the Revolu- 


The Fate of a Crown 

tionary party seemed incomprehensible; but 
I had already begun to realize that ex- 
traordinary conditions prevailed in Brazil. 
Perhaps the thing that caused me most 
astonishment was that this apparently con- 
ceited and empty-headed fellow had ever 
been selected for a post so important as Min- 
ister of Police. Yet the fact explained 
clearly how I had received secret protection 
from the moment of my landing at Rio until 
I had joined Dom Miguel. 

The girl was laughing at me now, and 
her loveliness made me resolve not to waste 
more of these precious moments in political 
discussion. She was nothing loath to drop 
the subject, and soon we were chattering 
merrily of the flowers and birds, the dew- 
drops and the sunshine, and all those incon- 
sequent things that are wont to occupy 
youthful lips while hearts beat fast and 
glances shyly mingle. When, at length, we 
sauntered up the path to breakfast I had for- 
gotten the great conspiracy altogether, and 
congratulated myself cordially upon the fact 
that Lesba and I were well on the way to 
becoming good friends. 


Madam Izabel 

Madam Izabel did not appear at the 
morning meal, and immediately it was over 
Dom Miguel carried me to his study, where 
he began to acquaint me thoroughly with 
the standing and progress of the proposed 
revolution, informing me, meantime, of my 
duties as secretary. 

While we were thus occupied the door 
softly opened and Izabel de Mar entered. 

She cast an odd glance in my direction, 
bowed coldly to her father, and then seated 
herself at a small table littered with papers. 

A cloud appeared upon Dom Miguel's 
brow. He hesitated an instant, and then 
addressed her in a formal tone. 

"I shall not need you to-day, Izabel." 

She turned upon him with a fierce gesture. 

"The letters to Piexoto are not finished, 
sir," she exclaimed. 

"I know, Izabel; I know. But Mr. 
Harcliffe will act as my secretary, hereafter; 
therefore he will attend to these details." 

She rose to her feet, her eyes flashing, 
but her face as immobile as ever. 

"I am discharged?" she demanded. 

"Not that, Izabel," he hastened to reply. 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Your services have been of inestimable 
value to the Cause. But they are wearing 
out your strength, and some of our friends 
thought you were too closely confined and 
needed rest. Moreover, a man, they con- 

"Enough!" said she, proudly. "To me 
it is a pleasure to toil in the cause of free- 
dom. But my services, it seems, are not 
agreeable to your leaders rather, let us say, 
to that sly and treacherous spy, Francisco 
Paola!" ' 

His face grew red, and I imagined he was 
about to reply angrily; but the woman si- 
lenced him with a wave of her hand. 

"O, I know your confidence in the Em- 
peror's Minister, my father; a confidence 
that will lead you all to the hangman, unless 
you beware ! But why should I speak ? I 
am not trusted, it seems ; I, the daughter of 
de Pintra, who is chief of the Revolution. 
This foreigner, whose heart is cold in our 
Cause, is to take my place. Very well. I 
will return to the court to my husband." 


"Do not fear. I will not betray you. 


Madam Izabel 

If betrayal comes, look to your buffoon, 
the Minister of Police; look to your cold 

She pointed at me with so scornful a 
gesture that involuntarily I recoiled, for the 
attack was unexpected. Then my lady 
stalked from the room like a veritable queen 
of tragedy. 

Dom Miguel drew a sigh of relief as the 
door closed, and rubbed his forehead vig- 
orously with his handkerchief. 

"That ordeal is at last over,'* he mut- 
tered; "and I have dreaded it like a coward. 
Listen, senhor! My daughter, whose pa- 
triotism is not well understood, has been 
suspected by some of my associates. She 
has a history, has Izabel a sad history, my 
friend. " For a moment Dom Miguel bowed 
his face in his hands, and when he raised his 
head again the look of pained emotion upon 
his features lent his swarthy skin a grayish 

'Years ago she loved a handsome young 
fellow, one Leon de Mar of French de- 
scent, who is even now a favorite with 
the Emperor," he resumed. "Against my 


The Fate of a Crown 

wishes she married him, and her life at the 
court proved a most unhappy one. De Mar 
is a profligate, a rake, a gamester, and a 
scoundrel. He made my daughter suffer 
all the agonies of hell. But she uttered no 
complaint and I knew nothing of her sorrow. 
At last, unable to bear longer the scorn and 
abuse of her husband, Izabel came to me 
and confessed the truth, asking me to give 
her the shelter of a home. That was years 
ago, senhor. I made her my secretary, and 
found her eager to engage in our patriotic 
conspiracy. It is my belief that she has 
neither seen nor heard from de Mar since; 
but others have suspected her. It is hard 
indeed, Robert, not to be suspicious in this 
whirlpool of intrigue wherein we are en- 
gulfed. A few weeks ago Paola swore that 
he found Izabel in our garden at midnight 
engaged in secret conversation with that 
very husband from whom she had fled. I 
have no doubt he was deceived ; but he re- 
ported it to the Secret Council, which in- 
structed me to confide no further secrets to 
my daughter, and to secure a new secretary 
as soon as possible. Hence my application 


Madam Izabel 

to your uncle, and your timely arrival to 
assist me." 

He paused, while I sat thoughtfully con- 
sidering his words. 

"I beg that you will not wrong my 
daughter with hasty suspicions," he con- 
tinued, pleadingly. "I do not wish you to 
confide our secrets to her, since I have myself 
refrained from doing so, out of respect for 
the wishes of my associates. But do not 
misjudge Izabel, my friend. When the 
time comes for action she will be found a true 
and valuable adherent to the Cause. And 
now, let us to work!" 

I found it by no means difficult to become 
interested in the details of the plot to over- 
throw the Emperor Dom Pedro and estab- 
lish a Brazilian Republic. It was amazing 
how many great names were enrolled in the 
Cause and how thoroughly the spirit of free- 
dom had corrupted the royal army, the 
court, and even the Emperor's trusted police. 
And I learned, with all this, to develop both 
admiration and respect for the man whose 
calm judgment had so far directed the 
mighty movement and systematized every 


The Fate of a Crown 

branch of the gigantic conspiracy. Truly, 
as my fair Lesba had said, Dom Miguel de 
Pintra was "a born leader of men." 

Night after night there assembled at his 
house groups of conspirators who arrived 
secretly and departed without even the ser- 
vants having knowledge of their visit. Dur- 
ing the counsels every approach to the house 
was thoroughly guarded to ward against 

Strong men were these republican lead- 
ers; alert, bold, vigilant in serving the Cause 
wherein they risked their lives and fortunes. 
One by one I came to know and admire 
them, and they spoke freely in my presence 
and trusted me. Through my intercourse 
with these champions of liberty, my horizon 
began to broaden, thus better fitting me 
for my duties. 

Francisco Paola, the Emperor's Minister, 
came frequently to the conferences of the 
Secret Council. Always he seemed as sim- 
pering, frivolous, and absurd as on the day 
I first met him. To his silly jokes and in- 
consequent chatter none paid the slightest 
attention; but when a real problem arose 


Madam Izabel 

and they turned questioningly to Paola, he 
would answer in a few lightly spoken words 
that proved at once shrewd and convincing. 
The others were wont to accept his decisions 
with gravity and act upon them. 

I have said that Paola impressed me as 
being conceited. This might well be true 
in regard to his personal appearance, his 
social accomplishments playing the piano 
and guitar, singing, riding, and the like but 
I never heard him speak lightly of the Cause 
or boast of his connection with it. Indeed, 
he exhibited a queer mingling of folly and 
astuteness. His friends appeared to con- 
sider his flippancy and self-adulation as a 
mask that effectually concealed his real 
talents. Doubtless the Emperor had the 
same idea when he made the fellow his 
Minister of Police. But I, studying the 
man with fervid interest, found it difficult 
to decide whether the folly was a mask, or 
whether Paola had two natures the second 
a sub-conscious intelligence upon which he 
was able to draw in a crisis. 

He certainly took no pains to impress 
any one favorably, and his closest friends 


The Fate of a Crown 

were, I discovered, frequently disgusted by 
his actions. 

From the first my judgment of the man 
had been influenced by his sister's enthu- 
siastic championship. Lesba seemed fully 
in her brother's confidence, and although she 
was not a recognized member of the con- 
spiracy, I found that she was thoroughly 
conversant with every detail of our progress. 
This information must certainly have come 
from Francisco, and as I relied absolutely 
upon Lesba's truth and loyalty, her belief 
in her brother impressed me to the extent 
of discrediting Madam Izabel's charge that 
he was a traitor. 

Nevertheless, Paola had acted villainous- 
ly in thrusting this same charge upon a 
woman. What object, I wondered, could 
he have in accusing Izabel to her own 
father, in falsely swearing that he had seen 
her in conversation with Leon de Mar 
the man from whose ill treatment she had 

Madam Izabel had not returned to the 
court, as she had threatened in her indignant 
anger. Perhaps she realized what it would 


Madam Izabel 

mean to place herself again within the power 
of the husband she had learned to hate and 
despise. She still remained an inmate of 
her father's mansion, cold and impassive as 
ever. Dom Miguel treated her with rare 
consideration on every occasion of their 
meeting, seeking to reassure her as to his 
perfect faith in her loyalty and his sorrow 
that his associates had cast a slur upon her 

To me the chief was invariably kind, and 
his gentleness and stalwart manhood soon 
won my esteem. I found myself working 
for the good of the cause with as much ardor 
as the most eager patriot of them all, but 
my reward was enjoyed as much in Lesba's 
smiles as in the approbation of Dom Miguel. 

That the government was well aware of 
our plot there was no question. Through 
secret channels we learned that even the 
midnight meetings of the Secret Council 
were known to the Emperor. The identity 
of the leaders had so far been preserved, 
since they came masked and cloaked to the 
rendezvous, but so many of the details of the 
conspiracy had in some way leaked out that 


The Fate of a Crown 

I marveled the Emperor's heavy hand had 
not descended upon us long ago. Of course 
de Pintra was a marked man, but they dared 
not arrest him until they had procured all 
the information they desired, otherwise they 
would defeat their own purpose. 

One stormy night, as I sat alone with 
Dom Miguel in his study, I mentioned my 
surprise that in view of the government's 
information of our plot we were not summa- 
rily arrested. It was not a council night, 
and we had been engaged in writing letters. 

" I suppose they fear to precipitate trou- 
ble between such powerful factions," he 
answered, somewhat wearily. "The head 
of the conspiracy is indeed here, but its 
branches penetrate to every province of the 
country, and were an outbreak to occur 
here the republicans of Brazil would rise as 
one man. Dom Pedro, poor soul, does not 
know where to look for loyal support. His 
ministry is estranged, and he is not even sure 
of his army." 

"But should they discover who our lead- 
ers are, and capture them, there would be 
no one to lead the uprising," I suggested. 


Madam Izabel 

"True," assented the chief. "But it is 
to guard against such a coup that our Coun- 
cil is divided into three sections. Only one- 
third of the leaders could be captured at any 
one time. But I do not fear such an attempt, 
as every movement at the capital is reported 
to me at once." 

"Suppose they were to strike you down, 
sir. What then ? Who would carry out 
your plans ? Where would be the guiding 
hand ?" 

For a moment he sat thoughtfully re- 
garding me. 

"I hope I shall be spared until I have 
accomplished my task," he said, at length. 
"I know my danger is great; yet it is not 
for myself I fear. Lest the Cause be lost 
through premature exposure, I have taken 
care to guard against that, should the emer- 
gency arise. Light me that candle yonder, 
Robert, and I will reveal to you one of our 
most important secrets." 

He motioned toward the mantel, smiling 
meantime at my expression of surprise. 

I lighted the candle, as directed, and 
turned toward him expectantly. He drew a 

The Fate of a Crown 

rug from before the fireplace, and stooping 
over, touched a button that released a spring 
in the flooring. 

A square aperture appeared, through 
which a man might descend, and peering 
over his shoulder I saw a flight of stairs 
reaching far downward. 

De Pintra turned and took the candle 
from my hand. 

"Follow me," he said. 




The stairs led us beneath the foundations 
of the house and terminated in a domed 
chamber constructed of stone and about ten 
feet in diameter. 

In the floor of this chamber was a trap- 
door, composed of many thicknesses of 
steel, and so heavy that it could be raised 
only by a stout iron windlass, the chain of 
which was welded to a ring in the door's 

Dom Miguel handed me the candle and 
began turning the windlass. Gradually 
but without noise the heavy door of metal 
rose, and disclosed a still more massive sur- 
face underneath. 

This second plate, of highly burnished 
steel, was covered with many small inden- 
tations, of irregular formation. It was 
about three feet square and the curious in- 
dentations, each one of which had evidently 


The Fate of a Crown 

been formed with great care, were scattered 
over every inch of the surface. 

"Put out the light," said de Pintra. 

I obeyed, leaving us in total darkness. 

Next moment, as I listened intently, I 
heard a slight grating noise, followed by a 
soft shooting of many bolts. Then a match 
flickered, and Dom Miguel held it to the 
wick and relighted the candle. 

The second door had swung upward upon 
hinges, showing three iron steps that led into 
a vault below. 

The chief descended and I followed ; not, 
however, without a shuddering glance at 
the great door that stood suspended as if 
ready to crash down upon our heads and 
entomb us. 

Just within the entrance an electric 
light, doubtless fed by a storage battery, 
was turned on, plainly illuminating the 

I found the vault lined with thick plates 
of steel, riveted firmly together. In the 
center was a small table and two wooden 
stools. Shelves were ranged around the 
walls and upon them were books, papers, 


The Secret Vault 

and vast sums of money, both in bank-notes 
and gold. 

"Here," said my companion, glancing 
proudly around him, " are our sinews of war; 
our records and funds and plans of opera- 
tion. Should Dom Pedro's agents gain 
access to this room they would hold in their 
hands the lives and fortunes of many of the 
noblest families in Brazil and our con- 
spiracy would be nipped in the bud. You 
may know how greatly I trust you when I 
say that even my daughter does not guess 
the existence of this vault. Only a few of 
the Secret Council have ever gained admit- 
tance here, and the secret of opening the 
inner door is known only to myself and one 
other Francisco Paola." 

"Paola!" I exclaimed. 

:< Yes; it was he who conceived the idea 
of this vault ; it was his genius that planned 
a door which defies any living man to open 
without a clear knowledge of its secret. 
Even he, its inventor, could not pass the 
door without my assistance ; for although he 
understands the method, the means are in 
my possession. For this reason I alone 


The Fate of a Crown 

am responsible for the safekeeping of our 
records and treasure." 

"The air is close and musty," said I, 
feeling oppressed in breathing. 

He looked upward. 

"A small pipe leads to the upper air, 
permitting foul vapors to escape," said he; 
"but only through the open door is fresh 
air admitted. Perhaps there should be bet- 
ter ventilation, yet that is an unimportant 
matter, for I seldom remain long in this 
place. It is a store-house a secret crypt 
not a work-room. My custom has been to 
carry all our records and papers here each 
morning, after they have been in use, that 
they may be safe from seizure or prying eyes. 
But such trips are arduous, and I am not 
very strong. Therefore I will ask you to 
accompany me, hereafter." 

"That I shall do willingly," I re- 

When we had passed through the door 
on our return the chief again extinguished 
the light while he manipulated the trap. 
Afterward the windlass allowed the outer 
plate of metal to settle firmly into place, and 


The Secret Vault 

we proceeded along the passage and returned 
to the study. 

Many trips did I make to the secret 
vault thereafter, but never could I under- 
stand in what manner the great door of 
shining steel was secured, as Dom Miguel 
always opened and closed it while we were 
in total darkness. 

As the weeks rolled by I not only became 
deeply interested in my work, but conceived 
a still greater admiration for the one man 
whose powerful intelligence directed what 
I knew to be a gigantic conspiracy. 

Spies were everywhere about Dom Mi- 
guel. One day we discovered his steward 
an old and trusted retainer of the family 
to be in the Emperor's pay. But de Pintra 
merely shrugged his shoulders and said 
nothing. Such a person could do little to 
imperil the cause, for its important secrets 
could not be surprised. The grim vault 
guarded them well. 

My duties occupying me only at night, 
my days were wholly my own, and they 
passed very pleasantly indeed, for my 
acquaintance with Lesba Paola had ripened 


The Fate of a Crown 

into a close friendship between us a friend- 
ship I was eager to resolve into a closer rela- 

But Lesba, although frank and ingen- 
uous in all our intercourse, had an effectual 
way of preventing the declarations of love 
which were ever on my tongue, and I found 
it extremely difficult to lead our conversation 
into channels that would give me an oppor- 
tunity to open my heart to her. 

She was an expert horsewoman, and we 
took many long rides together, during which 
she pointed out to me the estates of all the 
grandees in the neighborhood. Dom Mi- 
guel, whose love for the beautiful girl was 
very evident, seemed to encourage our com- 
panionship, and often spoke of her with 
great tenderness. 

He would dwell with especial pride upon 
the aristocratic breeding of his ward, which, 
to do him justice, he valued more for its 
effect upon other noble families than for any 
especial advantage it lent to Lesba herself; 
for while Dom Miguel was thoroughly 
republican in every sense of the word, he 
realized the advantages to be gained by 


The Secret Vault 

interesting the best families of Brazil in the 
fortunes of his beloved Cause, and one by 
one he was cleverly succeeding in winning 
them. My familiarity with the records 
taught me that the Revolution was being 
backed by the flower of Brazilian nobility 
the most positive assurance in my eyes of the 
justice and timeliness of the great move- 
ment for liberty. The idea that monarchs 
derive their authority from divine sources 
so prevalent amongst the higher classes 
had dissolved before the leader's powerful 
arguments and the object lessons Dom 
Pedro's corrupt ministry constantly afford- 
ed. All thoughtful people had come to a 
realization that liberty was but a step from 
darkness into light, a bursting of the shac- 
kles that had oppressed them since the day 
that Portugal had declared the province of 
Brazil an Empire, and set a scion of her 
royal family to rule its people with auto- 
cratic sway. 

And Lesba, sprung from the bluest blood 
in all the land, had great influence in awaken- 
ing, in those families she visited, an earnest 
desire for a republic. Her passionate ap- 


The Fate of a Crown 

peals were constantly inspiring her fellows 
with an enthusiatic devotion to the cause of 
liberty, and this talent was duly appreciated 
by Dom Miguel, whose admiration for the 
girl's simple but direct methods of making 
converts was unbounded. 

" Lesba is a rebel to her very finger-tips," 
said he, " and her longing to see her country 
a republic is exceeded by that of no man 
among us. But we are chary of admitting 
women to our councils, so my little girl must 
be content to watch for the great day when 
the cause of freedom shall prevail." 

However, she constantly surprised me 
by her intimate knowledge of our progress. 
As we were riding one day she asked: 

"Were you not impressed by your visit 
to the secret vault ?" 

"The secret vault!" I exclaimed. "Do 
you know of it ?" 

"I can explain every inch of its con- 
struction," she returned, with a laugh; 
"everything, indeed, save the secret by 
means of which one may gain admission. 
Was it not Francisco's idea ? And is it not 
exceedingly clever ?" 


The Secret Vault 

"It certainly is," I admitted. 

"It was built by foreign workmen, 
brought to Brazil secretly, and for that very 
purpose. Afterward the artisans were sent 
home again ; and not one of them, I believe, 
could again find his way to my uncle's house, 
for every precaution was taken to prevent 
their discovering its location." 

"That was well done," said I. 

"All that Francisco undertakes is well 
done," she answered simply. 

This faith in her perplexing brother was 
so perfect that I never ventured to oppose 
it. We could not have remained friends 
had I questioned either his truth or 

Madam Izabel I saw but seldom, as she 
avoided the society of the family and pre- 
ferred the seclusion of her own apartments. 
On the rare occasions of our meeting she 
treated me with frigid courtesy, resenting 
any attempt upon my part to draw her into 

For a time it grieved me that Dom Mi- 
guel's daughter should regard me with so 
much obvious dislike and suspicion. Her 


The Fate of a Crown 

sad story had impressed me greatly, and I 
could understand how her proud nature had 
resented the slanders of Francisco Paola, 
and writhed under them. But one evening 
an incident occurred that served to content 
me with Madame IzabeFs aversion, and led 
me to suspect that the Minister of Police had 
not been so guilty as I had deemed him. 

It was late, and Dom Miguel had pre- 
ceded me to the domed chamber while I 
carried the records and papers to be de- 
posited within the vault. 

After raising the first trap my employer, 
as usual, extinguished the candle. I heard 
the customary low, grating noise, but before 
the shooting of the bolts reached my ears 
there was a sharp report, followed by a vivid 
flash, and turning instantly I beheld Madam 
Isabel standing beside us, holding in her 
hand a lighted match and peering eagerly 
at the surface of the trap. 

My eyes followed hers, and while Dom 
Miguel stood as if petrified with amazement 
I saw the glitter of a gold ring protruding 
from one of the many curious indentations 
upon the plate. The next instant the match 


The Secret Vault 

was dashed from her grasp and she gave a 
low cry of pain. 

"Light the candle!" commanded de 
Pintra's voice, fiercely. 

I obeyed. He was holding the woman 
fast by her wrist. The ring had disappeared, 
and the mystery of the trap seemed as in- 
scrutable as ever. 

Dom Miguel, greatly excited and mut- 
tering imprecations all the way, dragged his 
daughter through the passage and up the 
stairs. I followed them silently to the chief's 
study. Then, casting the woman from him, 
de Pintra confronted her with blazing eyes, 
and demanded: 

"How dare you spy upon me ?" 

Madam Izabel had become cool as her 
father grew excited. She actually smiled 
a hard, bitter smile as she defiantly looked 
into his face and answered : 

"Spy! You forget, sir, that I am your 
daughter. I came to your room to seek you. 
You were not here; but the door to this stair- 
way was displaced, and a cold air came 
through it. Fearing that some danger men- 
aced you I passed down the stairs until, 


The Fate of a Crown 

hearing a noise, I paused to strike a match. 
You can best explain the contretemps." 

Long and silently Dom Miguel gazed 
upon his daughter. Then he said, abruptly, 
" Leave the room !" 

She bowed coldly, with a mocking ex- 
pression in her dark eyes, and withdrew. 

As she passed me I noted upon her cheeks 
an unwonted flush that rendered her strik- 
ingly beautiful. 

Deep in thought de Pintra paced the 
floor with nervous strides. Finally he 
turned toward me. 

"What did you sec ?" he asked, sharply. 

"A ring," I answered. "It lay upon the 
trap, and the stone was fitted into one of the 
numerous indentations." 

" He passed his hand over his brow with 
a gesture of despair. 

"Then she saw it also," he murmured, 
"and my secret is a secret no longer." 

I remained silent, looking upon him 
curiously, but in deep sympathy. 

Suddenly he held out his hand. Upon 
the little finger was an emerald ring, the 
stone appearing to be of no exceptional 


The Secret Vault 

value. Indeed, the trinket was calculated 
to attract so little attention that I had barely 
noticed it before, although I remembered 
that my employer always wore it. 

"This," said he, abruptly, "is the key to 
the vault." 

I nodded. The truth had flashed upon 
me the moment Madam Izabel had struck 
the match. And now, looking at it closely, 
I saw that the stone was oddly cut, although 
the fact was not likely to impress one who 
was ignorant of the purpose for which it was 

The chief resumed his pacing, but pres- 
ently paused to say: 

"If anything happens to me, my friend, 
be sure to secure this ring above all else. 
Get it to Paola, or to Fonseca, or Piexoto as 
soon as possible you know where they may 
be found. Should it fall into the hands of 
the royalists the result would be fatal." 

"But would either of your associates be 
able to use the ring, even if it passed into 
their possession ?" I asked. 

"There are two hundred indentations 
in the door of the trap," answered de Pintra, 


The Fate of a Crown 

"and the stone of the ring is so cut that it 
fits but one of these. Still, if our friends 
have time to test each cavity, they are sure 
to find the right one, and then the stone of 
my ring acts as a key. My real safety, as 
you will observe, lay in the hope that no one 
would discover that my ring unlocked the 
vault. Now that Izabel has learned the 
truth I must guard the ring as I would my 
life more, the lives of all our patriotic band. 

"Since you suspect her loyalty, why do 
you not send your daughter away ?" I sug- 

"I prefer to keep her under my own eye. 
And, strange as her actions of to-night seem, 
I still hesitate to believe that my own child 
would conspire to ruin me." 

"The secret is not your own, sir," I 
ventured to say. 

"True," he acknowledged, flushing deep- 
ly, "the secret is not my own. It belongs 
to the Cause. And its discovery would 
jeopardize the revolution itself. For this 
reason I shall keep Izabel with me, where, 
admitting she has the inclination to betray 
us, she will not have the power." 


The Secret Vault 

After this night he did not extinguish the 
light when we entered the vault, evidently 
having decided to trust me fully; but he 
took pains to secure the trap in the study 
floor so that no one could follow us. After 
watching him apply the key several times 
I became confident that I could find the 
right indentation without trouble should the 
occasion ever arise for me to unlock the 
vault unaided. 

Days passed by, and Madam Izabel re- 
mained as quiet and reserved as if she had 
indeed abandoned any further curiosity con- 
cerning the secret vault. As for my fel- 
low-rebel, the Senhorita Lesba, I rode and 
chatted with her in the firm conviction that 
here, at least, was one secret connected with 
the revolution of which she was ignorant. 




One evening, as I entered Dom Miguel's 
library, I found myself face to face with a 
strange visitor. He did not wear a mask, as 
did so many of the conspirators, even in the 
chief's presence ; but a long black cloak swept 
in many folds from his neck to his feet. 

My first thought was to marvel at his 
size, for he was considerably above six feet 
in height and finely proportioned, so that 
his presence fairly dominated us and made 
the furnishings of the room in which he 
stood seem small and insignificant. 

As I entered, he stood with his back to 
the fireplace confronting Dom Miguel, whose 
face wore a sad and tired expression. I 
immediately turned to withdraw, but a ges- 
ture from the stranger arrested me. 

"Robert," said Dom Miguel, "I present 
you to General Manuel Deodoro da Fon- 


General Fonseca 

I bowed profoundly. General Fonseca 
was not only a commander of the Emperor's 
royal army, but Chief Marshal of the forces 
of the Revolutionary party. I had never 
seen the great man before, as his duties re- 
quired his constant presence at the capital; 
but no figure loomed larger than his in the 
affairs of the conspiracy. 

Seldom have I met with a keener or more 
disconcerting glance than that which shot 
from his full black eyes as I stood before him. 
It seemed to search out my every thought, 
and I had the sensation of being before a 
judge who would show no mercy to one who 
strove to dissemble in his presence. 

But the glance was brief, withal. In a 
moment he had seized my hand and gripped 
it painfully. Then he turned to Dom 

"Let me hear the rest of your story," 
said he. 

" There is nothing more, General. Izabel 
has learned my secret, it is true; but she is 
my daughter. I will vouch for her faith." 

"Then will not I!" returned Fonseca, 
in his deep, vibrant tones. "Never have I 


The Fate of a Crown 

believed the tale of her estrangement from 
that scoundrel, Leon de Mar. Men are 
seldom traitors, for they dare not face the 
consequences. Women have no fear of man 
or devil. They are daughters of Delilah 
each and every one." 

He turned suddenly to me. 

"Will you also vouch for Senhora Izabel 
de Mar?" he asked. 

"No," I answered. 

"And quite right, sir," he returned, with 
a grim smile. "Never trust a woman in 
politics. But how about Francisco Paola? 
Do you vouch for him?" 

I hesitated, startled by the question. 

"Answer me!" he commanded. 

" I cannot see that I am required to vouch 
for any one, General," said I, nettled by his 
manner. "I am here to serve the Cause, 
not to judge the loyalty of its leaders." 

"Ugh!" said he, contemptuously; and I 
turned my back upon him, facing Dona 
Miguel, over whose features a fleeting smile 

Fonseca stalked up and down the apart- 
ment, his sword clanking beneath his cloak, 


General Fonseca 

and his spurs clicking like castanets. Then 
he planted his huge figure before the chief. 

"Watch them both," said he brusquely; 
"your daughter and your friend. They are 
aware of our most important secrets." 

De Pintra's face reddened. 

"Francisco is true as steel," he retorted, 
firmly. "Not one of us including your- 
self, General has done more to serve the 
Cause. I have learned to depend upon his 
discretion as I would upon my own or 

The general frowned and drew a folded 
paper from his breast pocket. 

"Read that," said he, tossing it into 
Dom Miguel's hand. "It is a copy of the 
report made by Paola to the Emperor this 

De Pintra glanced at the paper and then 
gave it to me, at the same time dropping his 
head in his hands. 

I read the report. It stated that the 
Minister of Police had discovered the exist- 
ence of a secret vault constructed beneath 
the mansion of Miguel de Pintra, the rebel 
chief. This vault, the police thought, con- 


The Fate of a Crown 

tained important records of the conspiracy. 
It was built of double plates of steel, and the 
entrance was guarded by a cleverly con- 
structed door, which could only be unlocked 
by means of a stone set in a ring which was 
constantly worn by Dom Miguel himself. 
In conclusion the minister stated that every 
effort was being made to secure possession 
of the ring, when the rebels would be at the 
Emperor's mercy. 

"Well, sir, what do you think of Fran- 
cisco Paola now?" inquired Fonseca, with 
a significant smile. 

"Did he not himself invent the secret 
vault?" I asked. 

"He did, sir." 

"How long ago." 

"A matter of two years. Is it not so, 
Dom Miguel?" 

The chief bowed. 

"And until now Paola has kept this se- 
cret?" I continued. 

"Until now, yes!" said the general. 
"Until the vault was stored with all our 
funds and the complete records of the revo- 


General Fonseca 

"Then it seems clear to me that Paola, 
as Minister of Police, has been driven to 
make this report in order to serve the 

Dom Miguel looked up at me quickly, 
and the huge general snorted and stabbed 
me with his terrible eyes. 

"What do you mean?" demanded Fon- 

"This report proves, I fear, that our 
suspicions of Madam Izabel are well found- 
ed," I explained, not daring to look at Dom 
Miguel while I accused his daughter. "Pa- 
ola has doubtless discovered that this infor- 
mation regarding the vault and its myste- 
rious key has either been forwarded to the 
Emperor or is on the way to him. There- 
fore he has forestalled Madam Izabel's re- 
port, in order that he may prove his depart- 
ment vigilant in serving the government, and 
so protect his high office. Can you not see 
that Paola's claim that he is working to se- 
cure the ring is but a ruse to gain time for 
us? Really, he knows that he could obtain 
it by arresting Dom Miguel. But this re- 
port will prevent the Emperor putting his 


The Fate of a Crown 

man Valcour upon the case, which he would 
probably have done had he received his first 
information from Izabel de Mar." 

For a moment there was silence. Then 
the general's brow unbent and he said with 
cheerfulness : 

"This explanation is entirely reasonable. 
It would not do for Paola to get himself de- 
posed, or even suspected, at this juncture. 
A new Minister of Police would redouble 
our danger." 

"How did you obtain this copy of the 
report?" asked de Pintra. 

"From one of our spies." 

"I have no doubt," said I, "that Paola 
was instrumental in sending it to you. It 
is a warning, gentlemen. We must not 
delay in acting upon it, and removing our 
treasure and our records to a safer place." 

"And where is that?" asked Fonseca. 

I looked at the chief. He sat thought- 
fully considering the matter. 

"There is no need of immediate haste," 
said he presently, and nothing can be done 
to-night, in any event. To-morrow we will 
pack everything in chests and carry them to 


General Fonseca 

Senhor B astro, who has a safe hiding-place. 
Meantime, General, you may leave me your 
men to serve as escort. How many are 

"Three. They are now guarding the 
usual approaches to this house." 

" Let them ride with you to the station at 
Cruz, and send them back to me in the 
morning. I will also summon some of our 
nearby patriots. By noon to-morrow every- 
thing will be ready for the transfer." 

"Very good!" ejaculated the general. 
"We cannot abandon too soon the vault we 
constructed with so much care. Where is 
your daughter?" 

"In her apartments." 

"Before you leave to-morrow, lock her 
up and put a guard at her door. We must 
not let her suspect the removal of the 

"It shall be done," answered de Pintra, 
with a sigh. "It may be," he continued, 
hesitatingly, "that my confidence in Izabel 
has been misplaced." 

The general did not reply. He folded 
his cloak about him, glanced at the clock, 


The Fate of a Crown 

and strode from the room without a word of 

When he had gone Dom Miguel turned 
to me. 

"Well? "said he. 

"I do not like Fonseca," I answered. 

"As a man he is at times rather disagree- 
able," admitted the chief. "But as a gen- 
eral he possesses rare ability, and his high 
station renders him the most valuable leader 
the Cause can boast. Moreover, Fonseca 
has risked everything in our enterprise, and 
may be implicitly trusted. When at last 
we strike our great blow for freedom, much 
will depend upon Manuel da Fonseca. 
And now, Robert, let us retire, for an hour 
before daybreak we must be at work." 

It was then eleven o'clock. I bade the 
chief good night and retired to my little 
room next the study. Dom Miguel slept 
in a similar apartment opening from the 
opposite side of the study. 

The exciting interview with Fonseca had 
left me nervous and wakeful, and it was 
some time before I sank into a restless 


General Fonseca 

A hand upon my shoulder aroused me. 

It was Dom Miguel. 

"Come quick, for God's sake!" he cried, 
in trembling tones. "She has stolen my 




Scarcely awake, I sprang from my couch 
in time to see de Pintra's form disappear 
through the doorway. A moment later I 
was in the study, which was beginning to 
lighten with the dawn of a new day. 

The trap in the floor was open, and the 
chief threw himself into the aperture and 
quickly descended. At once I followed, 
feeling my way down the iron staircase and 
along the passage. Reaching the domed 
chamber a strange sight met our view. 
Both traps had been raised, the second one 
standing upright upon its hinged edge, and 
from the interior of the vault shone a dim 

While we hesitated the light grew strong- 
er, and soon Madam Izabel came slowly 
from the vault with a small lamp in one hand 
and a great bundle of papers in the other. 
As she reached the chamber Dom Miguel 


A Terrible Crime 

sprang from out the shadow and wrenched 
the papers from her grasp. 

"So, madam!" he cried, "you have be- 
trayed yourself in seeking to betray us. 
Shame! Shame that a daughter of mine 
should be guilty of so vile an act!" As he 
spoke he struck her so sharply across the 
face with the bundle of papers that she 
reeled backward and almost dropped the 

"Look to her, Robert," he said, and 
leaped into the vault to restore the papers 
to their place. 

Then, while I stood stupidly by, not 
thinking of any further danger, Madam 
Izabel sprang to the trap and with one quick 
movement dashed down the heavy plate of 
steel. I saw her place the ring in its cavity 
and heard the shooting of the bolts; and 
then, suddenly regaining my senses, I rushed 
forward and seized her arm. 

"The ring!" I gasped, in horror; "give 
me the ring ! He will suffocate in that dun- 
geon in a few minutes." 

I can see yet her cold, serpent-like eyes 
as they glared venomously into my own. 


The Fate of a Crown 

The next instant she dashed the lamp into 
my face. It shivered against the wall, and 
as I staggered backward the burning oil 
streamed down my pajamas and turned me 
into a living pillar of fire. 

Screaming with pain, I tore the burning 
cloth from my body and stamped it into 
ashes with my bare feet. Then, smarting 
from the sting of many burns, I looked about 
me and found myself in darkness and alone. 

Instantly the danger that menaced 
Dom Miguel flashed upon me anew, and I 
stumbled up the iron stairs until I reached 
the study, where I set the alarm bell going so 
fiercely that its deep tones resounded 
throughout the whole house. 

In my chamber I hastily pulled my 
clothing over my smarting flesh, and as the 
astonished servants came pouring into the 
study, I shouted to them: 

"Find Senhora de Mar immediately and 
bring her to me by force if necessary. She 
has murdered Dom Miguel!" 

Over the heads of the stupidly staring 
group I saw a white, startled face, and 
Lesba's great eyes met my own with a quick 


A Terrible Crime 

look of comprehension. Then she disap- 
peared, and I turned again to the wondering 

"Make haste!" I cried. "Can you not 
understand? Every moment is precious." 

But the frightened creatures gazed upon 
each other silently, and I thrust them aside 
and ran through the house in frantic search 
for the murderess. The rooms were all 
vacant, and when I reached the entrance 
hall a groom stopped me. 

"Senhora de Mar left the house five 
minutes ago, sir. She was mounted upon 
our swiftest horse, and knows every inch of 
the country. It would be useless to pursue 

While I glared at the fellow a soft hand 
touched my elbow. 

"Come!" said Lesba. "Your horse is 
waiting I have saddled him myself. Make 
for the station at Cruz, for Izabel will seek 
to board the train for Rio." 

She had led me through the door across 
the broad piazza; and as, half-dazed, I 
mounted the horse, she added, "Tell me, 
can I do anything in your absence?" 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Nothing!" I cried, with a sob; "Dom 
Miguel is locked up in the vault, and I must 
find the key the key!" 

Away dashed the horse, and over my 
shoulder I saw her still standing on the steps 
of the piazza staring after me. 

The station at Cruz ! I must reach it as 
soon as possible before Izabel de Mar 
should escape. Almost crazed at the thought 
of my impotency and shuddering at the 
knowledge that de Pintra was slowly dying 
in his tomb while I was powerless to assist 
him, I lashed the good steed until it fairly 
flew over the uneven road. 

"Halt!" cried a stern voice. 

The way had led me beneath some over- 
hanging trees, and as I pulled the horse 
back upon his haunches I caught the gleam 
of a revolver held by a mounted man whose 
form was enveloped in a long cloak. 

Then came a peal of light laughter. 

"Why, 'tis our Americano!" said the 
horseman, gayly; "whither away, my gal- 
lant cavalier ?" 

To my delight I recognized Paola's 


A Terrible Crime 

"Dom Miguel is imprisoned in the 
vault!" I almost screamed in my agitation; 
"and Madam Izabel has stolen the key." 

"Indeed!" he answered. "And where 
is Senhora Izabel ?" 

"She has fled to Rio." 

"And left her dear father to die ? How 
unfilial ! " he retorted, laughing again. " Do 
you know, Senhor Harcliffe, it somehow 
reminds me of a story my nurse used to 
read me from the * Arabian Nights,' how 
a fond daughter planned to - 

"For God's sake, sir, the man is dying!" 
I cried, maddened at his indifference. 

He drew out a leathern case and calmly 
selected a cigarette. 

"And Madam Izabel has the key," he 
repeated, striking a match. "By the way, 
senhor, where are you bound ? " 

"To overtake the murderess before she 
can board the train at Cruz." 

' * Very good . How long has Dom Miguel 
been imprisoned in the vault?" 

"Twenty minutes, a half -hour, perhaps." 

" Ah ! He may live in that foul and con- 
fined atmosphere for two hours; possibly 

The Fate of a Crown 

three. But no longer. I know, for 1 
planned the vault myself. And the station 
at Cruz is a good two hours' ride from 
this spot. I know, for I have just traveled 

I dropped my head, overwhelmed by 
despair as the truth was thus brutally 
thrust upon me. For Dom Miguel there 
was no hope. 

"But the records, sir! We must save 
them, even if our chief is lost. Should 
Madam Izabel deliver the key to her hus- 
band or to the Emperor every leader of the 
Cause may perish upon the gallows." 

"Well thought of, on my word," com- 
mented the strange man, again laughing 
softly. "I wonder how it feels to have a 
rope around one's neck and to kick the 
empty air ?" He blew a cloud of smoke from 
his mouth and watched it float away. "But 
you are quite right, Senhor Harcliffe. The 
lady must be found and made to give up the 

He uttered a low whistle, and two men 
rode out from the shadow of the trees and 
joined us. 


A Terrible Crime 

"Ride with Senhor Harcliffe to the 
station at Cruz. Take there the train for 
Rio. Present the American to Mazano- 
vitch, who is to obey his instructions." 

The men bowed silently. 

"But you, senhor," I said, eagerly, 
"can you not yourself assist us in this 
search ?" 

"I never work," was the reply, drawled 
in his mincing manner. "But the men I 
have given you will do all that can be done 
to assist you. For myself, I think I shall 
ride on to de Pintra's and kiss my sister 
good morning. Perhaps she will give me 
a bite of breakfast, who knows?" 

Such heartlessness amazed me. Indeed, 
the man was past my comprehension. 

"And General Fonseca?" said I, hesi- 
tating whether or no to put myself under 
Paola's command, now that the chief was 

" Let Fonseca go to the devil. He would 
cry 'I told you so!' and refuse to aid you, 
even though his own neck is in jeopardy." 
He looked at his watch. "If you delay 
longer you will miss the train at Cruz. 

The Fate of a Crown 

Good morning, senhor. How sad that you 
cannot breakfast with us!" 

Touching his hat with a gesture of mock 
courtesy he rode slowly on, and the next 
moment, all irresolution vanishing, I put 
spurs to my horse and bounded away, the 
two men following at my heels. 

Presently I became tortured with 
thoughts of Dom Miguel, stifling in his 
tomb of steel. And under my breath I 
cursed the heartless sang froid of Francisco 
Paola, who refused to be serious even when 
his friend was dying. 

"The cold-blooded scoundrel!" I mut- 
tered, as I galloped on; "the cad! the 
trifling coxcomb! Can nothing rouse him 
from his self -complaisant idiocy?" 

"I imagine you are apostrophizing my 
master, senhor," said one of the men riding 
beside me. 

Something in his voice caused me to 
turn and scrutinize his face. 

"Ah!" I exclaimed, "you are Sergeant 

"The same, senhor. And I shall not 
arrest you for the death of our dear lieu- 

A Terrible Crime 

tenant." A low chuckling laugh accom- 
panied the grim pleasantry. "But if you 
were applying those sweet names to Senhor 
Paola, I assure you that you wrong him. 
For three years I have been his servant, and 
this I have learned: in an emergency no 
man can think more clearly or act more 
swiftly than his Majesty's Minister of 

"I have been with him four years," 
announced the other man, in a hoarse voice, 
"and I agree with you that he is cold and 
heartless. Yet I never question the wisdom 
of his acts." 

" Why did he not come with us himself?" 
I demanded, angrily. "Why should he 
linger to eat a breakfast and kiss his sister 
good morning, when his friend and chief 
is dying, and his Cause is in imminent dan- 

Marco laughed, and the other shrugged 
his shoulders, disdaining a reply. 

For a time we rode on in unbroken 
silence, but coming to a rough bit of road 
that obliged us to walk the horses, the 
sergeant said : 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Perhaps it would be well for you to 
explain to us what has happened. My 
friend Figgot, here, is a bit of a detective, 
and if we are to assist you we must know in 
what way our services are required." 

"We are both patriots, senhor," said 
the other, briefly. 

So I told them the story of Madam 
Izabel's treachery and her theft of the ring, 
after locking her father within the vault. 
At their request I explained minutely the 
construction of the steel doors and described 
the cutting of the emerald that alone could 
release the powerful bolts. They heard all 
without comment, and how much of my 
story was new to them I had no knowledge. 
But of one thing I felt certain : these fellows 
were loyal to the Cause and clever enough 
to be chosen by Paola as his especial com- 
panions; therefore they were just the assist- 
ants I needed in this emergency. 

It was a weary ride, and the roads 
became worse as we progressed toward 
Cruz. The sun had risen and now spread 
a marvelous radiance over the tropical 
landscape. I noted the beauty of the 

A Terrible Crime 

morning even while smarting from the burns 
upon my breast and arms, and heart-sick 
at the awful fate of my beloved leader - 
even now perishing amid the records of the 
great conspiracy he had guided so success- 
fully. Was all over yet, I wondered? 
Paola had said that he might live in his 
prison for two or three hours. And the 
limit of time had nearly passed. Poor Dom 
Miguel ! 

My horse stepped into a hole, stumbled, 
and threw me headlong to the ground. 

For a few minutes I was unconscious; 
then I found myself sitting up and sup- 
ported by Sergeant Marco, while the other 
man dashed water in my face. 

"It is a dangerous delay," grumbled 
Marco, seeing me recovering. 

Slowly I rose to my feet. No bones were 
broken, but I was sadly bruised. 

"I can ride, now," I said. 

They lifted me upon one of their horses 
and together mounted the other. My own 
steed had broken his leg. A bullet ended 
his suffering. 

Another half-hour and we sighted the 

The Fate of a Crown 

little station at Cruz. Perhaps I should 
have explained before that from Cuyaba 
to Cruz the railway made a long sweep 
around the base of the hills. The station 
nearest to de Pintra's estate was Cuyaba; 
but by riding straight to Cruz one saved 
nearly an hour's railway journey, and the 
train for Rio could often be made in this 
way when it was impossible to reach 
Cuyaba in time to intercept it. And as 
the station at Cruz was more isolated than 
that at Cuyaba, this route was greatly 
preferred by the revolutionists visiting de 

My object in riding to Cruz upon this 
occasion was twofold. Had Madam Izabel 
in her flight made for Cuyaba to catch the 
train, I should be able to board the same 
train at Cruz, and force her to give up the 
ring. And if she rode to Cruz she must 
await there the coming of the train we also 
hoped to meet. In either event I planned, 
as soon as the ring was in my possession, to 
hasten back to the mansion, open the vault 
and remove the body of our chief; after 
which it would be my duty to convey the 

A Terrible Crime 

records and treasure to the safe-keeping of 
Senhor Bastro. 

I had no expectation of finding Dom 
Miguel still alive. With everything in our 
favor the trip would require five hours, 
and long before that time the prisoner's 
fate would have overtaken him. But the 
chief's dying wish would be to save the 
records, and that I intended to do if it were 

However, the delays caused by meeting 
with Paola and my subsequent unlucky 
fall had been fatal to my plans. We 
dashed up to the Cruz station in time to see 
the train for Rio disappearing in the dis- 
tance, and to complete my disappointment 
we found standing beside the platform 
a horse yet panting and covered with 

Quickly dismounting, I approached the 
horse to examine it. The station master 
came from his little house and bowed with 
native politeness. 

"The horse? Ah, yes; it was from the 
stables of Dom Miguel. Senhora de Mar 
had arrived upon the animal just in time 

The Fate of a Crown 

to take the express for Rio. The gentle- 
man also wanted the train? How sad to 
have missed it ! But there would be another 
at eleven o'clock, although not so fast a 

For a time I stood in a sort of stupor, my 
mind refusing to grasp the full horror of 
the situation. Until then, perhaps, a lin- 
gering hope of saving Dom Miguel had 
possessed me. But with the ring on its 
way to Rio and the Emperor, and I con- 
demned to inaction at a deserted way- 
station, it is no wonder that despair over- 
whelmed me. 

When I slowly recovered my faculties 
I found that my men and the station master 
had disappeared. I found them in the 
little house writing telegrams, which the 
official was busily ticking over the wires. 

Glancing at one or two of the messages 
I found them unintelligible. 

"It is the secret cypher," whispered 
Figgot. "We shall put Madam Izabel in 
the care of Mazanovitch himself. Ah, how 
he will cling to the dear lady! She is 
clever ah, yes ! exceedingly clever is 

A Terrible Crime 

Senhora de Mar. But has Mazanovitch 
his match in all Brazil?" 

"I do not know the gentleman," I 

"No? Perhaps not. But you know the 
Minister of Police, and Mazanovitch is the 
soul of Francisco Paola." 

"But what are we to do?" I asked, 

"Why, now that our friends in Rio are 
informed of the situation, we have trans- 
ferred to them, for a time, all our worries. 
It only remains for us to await the eleven 
o'clock train." 

I nodded, staring at him through a sort 
of haze. I was dimly conscious that my 
burns were paining me terribly and that 
my right side seemed pierced by a thousand 
red-hot needles. Then the daylight faded 
away, the room grew black, and I sank upon 
the floor unconscious. 




When I recovered I was lying upon a 
cot in the station-master's private room. 
Sergeant Marco had ridden to a neighboring 
farmhouse and procured bandages and 
some olive oil and Figgot, who proudly 
informed me he had once been a surgeon, 
had neatly dressed and bandaged my burns. 

These now bothered me less than the 
lameness resulting from my fall; but I 
drank a glass of wine and then lay quietly 
upon the cot until the arrival of the train, 
when my companions aroused me and 
assisted me aboard. 

I made the journey comfortably enough, 
and felt greatly refreshed after partaking 
of a substantial luncheon brought from an 
eating-house by the thoughtful Figgot. 

On our arrival at Rio we were met by a 
little, thin-faced man who thrust us all three 
into a cab and himself joined us as we 

The Missing Finger 

began to rattle along the labyrinth of streets. 
He was plainly dressed in black, quiet and 
unobtrusive in manner, and had iron-gray 
hair and beard, both closely cropped. I 
saw at once he was not a Brazilian, and 
made up my mind he was the man called 
Mazanovitch by Paola and my companions. 
If so, he was the person now in charge of 
our quest for the ring, and with this idea I 
examined his face with interest. 

This was not difficult, for the man sat 
opposite me with lowered eye-lids and a 
look of perfect repose upon his thin features. 
He might have been fifty or sixty years of 
age; but there was no guide in determining 
this except his gray hairs, for his face bore 
no lines of any sort, and his complexion, 
although of pallid hue, was not unhealthy 
in appearance. 

It surprised me that neither he nor my 
companions asked any questions. Perhaps 
the telegrams had explained all that was 
necessary. Anyway, an absolute silence 
reigned in the carriage during our brief 

When we came to a stop the little man 

The Fate of a Crown 

opened the door. We all alighted and 
followed him into a gloomy stone building. 
Through several passages we walked, and 
then our conductor led us into a small 
chamber, bare except for a half-dozen iron 
cots that stood in a row against the wall. 
A guard was at the doorway, but admitted 
us with a low bow after one glance at the 
man in black. 

Leading us to the nearest cot, Mazano- 
vitch threw back a sheet and then stood 
aside while we crowded around it. To my 
horror I saw the form of Madam Izabel ly- 
ing dead before us. Her white dress was 
discolored at the breast with clots of dark 

"Stabbed to the heart," said the guard, 
calmly. "It was thus they brought her 
from the train that arrived this afternoon 
from Matto Grosso. The assassin is un- 

Mazanovitch thrust me aside, leaned 
over the cot, and drew the woman's left 
hand from beneath the sheet. 

The little finger had been completely 


The Missing Finger 

Very gently he replaced the hand, drew 
the sheet over the beautiful face, and 
turned away. 

Filled with amazement at the Nemesis 
that had so soon overtaken this fierce and 
terrible woman, I was about to follow our 
guide when I found myself confronting a 
personage who stood barring my way with 
folded arms and a smile of grim satisfaction 
upon his delicate features. 

It was Valcour the man who had 
called himself de Guarde on board the 
Castina the Emperor's spy. 

"Ah, my dear Senhor Harcliffe! Do we 
indeed meet again?" he cried, tauntingly. 
"And are you still keeping a faithful record 
in that sweet diary of yours? It is fine 
reading, that diary perhaps you have it 
with you now?" 

"Let me pass," said I, impatiently. 

"Not yet, my dear friend," he answered, 
laughing. "You are going to be my guest, 
you know. Will it not please you to enjoy 
my society once more? To be sure. And 
I I shall not wish to part with you again 


The Fate of a Crown 

"What do you mean?" I demanded. 

"Only that I arrest you, Robert Har- 
cliffe, in the name of the Emperor!" 

"On what charge?" I asked. 

"Murder, for one," returned the smiling 
Valcour. "Afterward you may answer for 

"Pardon me, Senhor Valcour," said the 
little man, in a soft voice. "The gentle- 
man is already under arrest in the Em- 
peror's name." 

Valcour turned upon him fiercely, but 
his eyes fell as he encountered the other's 
passive, unemotional countenance. 

"Is it so, Captain Mazanovitch? Then 
I will take the prisoner off your hands." 

The little man spread out his palms 
with an apologetic, deprecating gesture. 
His eyes seemed closed or nearly so. He 
seemed to see nothing; he looked at neither 
Valcour nor myself. But there was some- 
thing about the still, white face, with its 
frame of iron-gray, that compelled a cer- 
tain respect, and even deference. 

"It is greatly to be regretted," he said, 
gently; "and it grieves me to be obliged to 

The Missing Finger 

disappoint you, Senhor Valcour. But since 
this man is a prisoner of the police a 
state prisoner of some importance, I believe 
it is impossible to deliver him into your 

Without answer Valcour stood motion- 
less before us, only his mobile face and 
his white lips showing the conflict of 
emotions that oppressed him. And then I 
saw a curious thing happen. The eyelids of 
Mazanovitch for an instant unclosed, and 
in that instant so tender a glance escaped 
them that Valcour trembled slightly, and 
touched with a gentle, loving gesture the 
elder man's arm. 

It all happened in a flash, and the next 
moment I could not have sworn that my 
eyes had not deceived me, for Valcour 
turned away with a sullen frown upon his 
brow, and the Captain seized my arm and 
marched me to the door, Figgot and Marco 
following close behind. 

Presently we regained our carriage and 
were driven rapidly from the morgue. 

This drive was longer than the first, but 
during it no word was spoken by any of my 

The Fate of a Crown 

companions. I could not help staring at 
the closed eyes of Mazanovitch, but the 
others, I noticed, avoided looking at him. 
Did he see, I wondered ? could he see 
from out the tiny slit that showed beneath 
his lashes? 

We came at last to a quiet street lined 
with small frame houses, and before one 
of these the carriage stopped. Mazano- 
vitch opened the front door with a latch- 
key, and ushered us into a dimly lighted 
room that seemed fitted up as study and 
office combined. 

Not until we were seated and supplied 
with cigars did the little man speak. Then 
he reclined in a cushioned chair, puffed at 
his cheroot, and turned his face in my 

"Tell me all you know concerning the 
vault and the ring which unlocks it," he 
said, in his soft tones. 

I obeyed. Afterward Figgot told of my 
meeting with the Minister of Police, and 
of Paola's orders to him and Marco to 
escort me to Rio and to place the entire 
matter in the hands of Mazanovitch. 

The Missing Finger 

The little man listened without comment 
and afterward sat for many minutes silently 
smoking his cheroot. 

"It seems to me," said I, at last, "that 
the death of Senhora de Mar, and especially 
the fact that her ring finger has been severed 
from her hand, points conclusively to one 
reassuring fact; that the ring has been 
recovered by one of our band, and so the 
Cause is no longer endangered. Therefore 
my mission to Rio is ended, and all that 
remains for me is to return to Cuyaba and 
attend to the obsequies of my poor friend 
de Pintra." 

Marco and Figgot heard me respectfully, 
but instead of replying both gazed question- 
ingly at the calm face of Mazanovitch. 

"The facts are these;" said the latter, 
deliberately; "Senhora de Mar fled with 
the ring; she has been murdered, and the 
ring taken from her. By whom? If a 
patriot has it we shall know the truth within 
fifteen minutes." I glanced at a great 
clock ticking against the wall. "Before 
your arrival," he resumed, "I had taken 
steps to communicate with every patriot in 

The Fate of a Crown 

Rio. Yet there were few able to recognize 
the ring as the key to the secret vault, and 
the murder was committed fifteen minutes 
after the train left Cruz." 

I started, at that. 

"Who could have known?" I asked. 

The little man took the cigar from his 
mouth for a moment. 

" On the train," said he, " were General 
Fonseca, the patriot, and Senhor Valcour, 
the Emperor's spy." 




I remembered Fonseca's visit of the night 
before, and considered it natural he should 
take the morning train to the capital. 

"But Valcour would not need to murder 
Madam Izabel," said I. "They were 
doubtless in the plot together, and she would 
have no hesitation in giving him the ring 
had he demanded it. On the contrary, 
our general was already incensed against 
the daughter of the chief, and suspected her 
of plotting mischief. I am satisfied he has 
the ring." 

"The general will be with us presently," 
answered Mazanovitch, quietly. "But, 
gentlemen, you all stand in need of refresh- 
ment, and Senhor Harcliffe should have 
his burns properly dressed. Kindly follow 

He led the way up a narrow flight of 
stairs that made two abrupt turns for no 

The Fate of a Crown 

apparent reason before they reached the 
upper landing. Following our guide we 
came to a back room where a table was set 
for six. A tall, studious-looking Brazilian 
greeted us with a bow and immediately 
turned his spectacled eyes upon me. On 
a small side table were bandages, ointments, 
and a case of instruments lying open. 

Within ten minutes the surgeon had 
dressed all my wounds none of which, 
however, was serious, merely uncomfort- 
able and I felt greatly benefited by the 
application of the soothing ointments. 

Scarcely was the operation completed 
when the door opened to admit Fonseca. 
He gave me a nod, glanced questioningly 
at the others, and then approached the 
table and poured out a glass of wine, which 
he drank eagerly. I noticed he was in full 

"General," said I, unable to repress my 
anxiety, "have you the ring?" 

He shook his head and sat down with a 
gloomy expression upon his face. 

"I slept during the journey from Cuy- 
aba," he said presently, "and only on my 

"For To-morrow We Die! " 

arrival at Rio did I discover that Senhora 
de Mar had traveled by the same train. 
She was dead when they carried her into 
the station." 

"And Valcour?" It was Mazanovitch 
who asked the question. 

"Valcour was beside the body, wild 
with excitement, and swearing vengeance 
against the murderer." 

"Be seated, gentlemen," requested our 
host, approaching the table. "We have 
time for a slight repast before our friends 

"May I join you?" asked a high, queru- 
lous voice. A slender figure, draped in 
black and slightly stooping, stood in the 

"Come in," said Fonseca, and the new 
arrival threw aside his cloak and sat with 
us at the table. 

"The last supper, eh?" he said, in a 
voice that quavered somewhat. "For to- 
morrow we die. Eh, brothers? to-mor- 
row we die!" 

"Croaker!" cried Fonseca, with scorn. 
"Die to-morrow, if you like; die to-night, 

The Fate of a Crown 

for all I care. The rest of us intend to live 
long enough to shout huzzas for the United 
States of Brazil!" 

"In truth, Senhor Piexoto," said Marco, 
who was busily eating, "we are in no un- 
usual danger to-night." 

Startled by the mention of the man's 
name, I regarded him with sudden interest. 

The reputation of Floriano Piexoto, the 
astute statesman who had plotted so well 
for the revolutionary party, was not un- 
known to me, by any means. Next to 
Fonseca no patriot was more revered by 
the people of Brazil ; yet not even the general 
was regarded with the same unquestioning 
affection. For Piexoto was undoubtedly 
a friend of the people, and despite his per- 
sonal peculiarities had the full confidence 
of that rank and file of the revolutionary 
party upon which, more than upon the 
grandees who led it, depended the fate of 
the rising republic. 

His smooth-shaven face, sunken cheeks, 

and somewhat deprecating gaze gave him 

the expression of a student rather than a 

statesman, and his entire personality was in 


;< For To-morrow We Die! ' 

sharp contrast to the bravado of Fonseca. 
To see the two leaders together one would 
never suspect that history would prove the 
statesman greater than the general. 

"Danger!" piped Piexoto, shrilly, in 
answer to Sergeant Marco's remark, "you 
say there is no danger? Is not de Pintra 
dead? Is not the ring gone? Is not the 
secret vault at the Emperor's mercy?" 

"Who knows?" answered Fonseca, with 
a shrug. 

"And who is this?" continued Piexoto, 
turning upon me a penetrating gaze. "Ah, 
the American secretary, I suppose. Well, 
sir, what excuse have you to make for 
allowing all this to happen under your very 
nose? Are you also a traitor?" 

" I have not the honor of your acquaint- 
ance, senhor," said I, stiffly; "nor, in view 
of your childish conduct, do I greatly 
desire it." 

Fonseca laughed, and the Pole turned his 
impassive face, with its half-closed eye-lids, 
in my direction. But Piexoto seemed 
rather pleased with my retort, and said: 

"Never mind; your head sits as in- 

The Fate of a Crown 

securely upon its neck as any present. 'Tis 
really a time for action rather than recrimi- 
nation. What do you propose, Mazano- 

"I am waiting to hear if you have dis- 
covered the present possessor of the ring," 
answered the captain. 

"No; our people were ignorant of its 
very existence, save in a few cases, and none 
of them has seen it. Therefore the Em- 
peror has it, without doubt." 

"Why without doubt?" asked Mazano- 

"Who else could desire it? Who else 
could know its value? Who else would 
have murdered Madam Izabel to secure it?" 

"Why the devil should the Emperor 
cause his own spy to be murdered?" in- 
quired Fonseca, in his harsh voice. 'You 
are a fool, Piexoto." 

"What of Leon de Mar?" asked the 
other, calmly. "He hated his wife. Why 
should he not have killed her himself, in 
order to be rid of her and at the same time 
secure the honor of presenting his Emperor 
with the key to the secret vault?" 

"For To-morrow We Die! " 

"Leon de Mar," said Mazanovitch, "is 
in Rio Grande do Sul. He has been 
stationed there for three weeks." 

For a time there was silence. 

" Where is Paola?" suddenly asked Pie- 
xoto. " I want to know what Paola is doing 
in this crisis." 

"He was last seen near de Pintra's 
residence," said Figgot. "But we know 
nothing of his present whereabouts." 

'You may be sure of one thing," declared 
Marco stoutly; "that Francisco Paola is 
serving the Cause, wherever he may be." 

The general snorted derisively, and 
Piexoto looked at him with the nearest 
approach to a smile his anxious face had 

"How we admire one another!" he 

"Personally I detest both you and 
Paola," responded the general, frankly. 
"But the Cause is above personalities, and 
as for your loyalty, I dare not doubt it. But 
we wander from the subject in hand. Has 
the Emperor the ring or is he seeking it as 
eagerly as we are?" 


The Fate of a Crown 

"The Emperor has not the ring," said 
Mazanovitch, slowly; "you may be as- 
sured of that. Otherwise " 

Piexoto gave a start. 

"To be sure," said he, "otherwise we 
would not be sitting here." 




Later that evening there was a large 
gathering of the important members of the 
conspiracy, but the result of their deliber- 
ations only served to mystify us more than 
before as to the murderer of Madam Izabel 
and the possessor of the ring. Many were 
the expressions of sorrow at the terrible 
fate of Dom Miguel a man beloved by 
all who had known him. The sad in- 
cident of his death caused several to waver 
in their loyalty to the projected Republic, 
and I was impressed by the fact that at this 
juncture the Cause seemed to be in rather 
desperate straits. 

"If the ring is gone and the records dis- 
covered," said one, "we would best leave 
the country for a time, until the excitement 
subsides, for the Emperor will spare no 
one in his desire for vengeance." 

"Let us first wait for more definite 

The Fate of a Crown 

information," counseled the old general, 
always optimistic. "Should an uprising 
be precipitated at this time we have all the 
advantage on our side, for the Republic is 
to-day stronger than the Empire. And 
we have yet to hear from Paola." 

So, after much comment, it was deter- 
mined to watch every action of the court 
party with redoubled vigilance, and in case 
danger threatened the republicans, to give 
the signal that would set the revolution 
going in full swing. Meantime we would 
endeavor to get in touch with Paola. 

But the Minister of Police had mysteri- 
ously disappeared, and although telegrams 
were sent in every direction, we could hear 
nothing of Paola's whereabouts. Inquiries 
at the court failed to elicit any information 
whatever, and they were doubtless as 
ignorant on the subject as ourselves. 

Officially, I was supposed to be occupy- 
ing a dungeon in the fortress, and Mazano- 
vitch had actually locked up a man under 
my name, registering the prisoner in the 
prescribed fashion. Therefore, being 
cleverly disguised by the detective, I ran 

Lesba's Bright Eyes 

little risk of interference should I venture 
abroad in the city. 

Curiously enough, Mazanovitch chose 
to disguise me as a member of the police, 
saying that this plan was less likely than 
any other to lead to discovery. Wherever I 
might wander I was supposed to be off 
duty or on special service, and the captain 
enrolled me under the name of Andrea 

I was anxious at times to return to 
Cuyaba, for Lesba's white face, as I had 
last seen it on the morning of Dom Miguel's 
incarceration, haunted me perpetually. But 
the quest of the ring was of vital importance, 
and I felt that I dared not return until I 
could remove my dear friend's body from 
the vault and see it properly interred. 

Under Mazanovitch's directions I strove 
earnestly to obtain a clue that might lead 
to a knowledge of where the missing ring 
was secreted; but our efforts met with no 
encouragement, and we were not even sure 
that the murderer of Izabel de Mar had 
ever reached the capital. 

On the third morning after my arrival 

The Fate of a Crown 

I was strolling down the street toward the 
railway station, in company with Mazano- 
vitch, when suddenly I paused and grasped 
my comrade's arm convulsively. 

"Look there!" I exclaimed. 

Mazanovitch shook off my hand, im- 

" I see," he returned ; " it is the Senhorita 
Lesba Paola, riding in the Emperor's 

"But that scoundrel Valcour is with 
her!" I cried. 

"Scoundrel? We do not call Senhor 
Valcour that. He is faithful to the Em- 
peror, who employs him. Shall we, who are 
unfaithful, blame him for his fidelity?" 

While I sought an answer to this dis- 
concerting query the carriage whirled past 
us and disappeared around a corner; but 
I had caught a glimpse of Lesba's bright 
eyes glancing coyly into the earnest face 
Valcour bent over her, and the sight filled 
me with pain and suspicion. 

"Listen, Captain," said I, gloomily, 
"that girl knows all the important secrets 
of the conspiracy." 


Lesba's Bright Eyes 

"True," answered the unmoved Mazano- 

"And she is riding in the Emperor's 
carriage, in confidential intercourse with 
the Emperor's spy." 

"True," he said again. 

"Paola has disappeared, and his sister 
is at court. What do you make of it, 

"Pardon me, the Minister of Police 
returned to his duties this morning," said 
the man, calmly. "Doubtless his sister 
accompanied him. Who knows?" 

"Why did you not tell me this?" I de- 
manded, angrily. 

" I am waiting for Paola to communicate 
with us, which he will do in good time. 
Meanwhile, let me counsel patience, Senhor 

But I left him and strode down the street, 
very impatient indeed, and filled with 
strange misgivings. These Brazilians were 
hard to understand, and were it not for 
Lesba I could wish myself quit of their 
country forever. 

Lesba ? What strange chance had 

The Fate of a Crown 

brought her to Rio and thrown her into the 
companionship of the man most inimical 
to her brother, to myself, and to the Cause? 

Was she playing a double game? Could 
this frank, clear-eyed girl be a traitor to the 
Republic, as had been Izabel de Mar? 

It might be. A woman's mind is hard 
to comprehend. But she had been so 
earnest a patriot, so sincerely interested 
in our every success, so despondent over 
our disappointments, that even now I 
could not really doubt her faith. 

Moreover, I loved the girl. Had I never 
before realized the fact, I knew it in this 
hour when she seemed lost to me forever. 
For never had speech of mine brought 
the glad look to her face that I had noted as 
she flashed by with Valcour pouring soft 
speeches into her ears. The Emperor's 
spy was a handsome fellow; he was high 
in favor at court; he was one of her own 
people - 

Was he, by the by? Was Valcour 

really a Brazilian? He had a Brazilian's 

dark eyes and complexion, it is true; yet 

now that I thought upon it, there was an 


Lesba's Bright Eyes 

odd, foreign cast to his features that indi- 
cated he belonged to another race. Yes, 
there was a similarity between them and 
the features of the Pole Mazanovitch. 
Perhaps Valcour might also be a Pole. 
Just now Mazanovitch had spoken kindly 
of him, and - 

I stopped short in my calculations, for I 
had made a second startling discovery. 
My wanderings had led me to the railway 
station, where, as I approached, I saw the 
Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro de Alcan- 
tara, surrounded by a company of his 
Uruguayan guard, and in the act of board- 
ing a private car attached to the Matto 
Grosso train. 

I had never before seen the Emperor, 
but from descriptions of him, as well as 
from the deference of those about him, I 
had no doubt of his identity. 

His hurried departure upon a journey, 
coupled with Paola's presence at the capital, 
could only bear one interpretation. The 
Minister of Police had been in conference 
with the Emperor, and his Majesty was 
about to visit in person the scene of the late 

The Fate of a Crown 

tragedy, and do what he might to unearth 
the records of that far-reaching revolution 
which threatened his throne. 

Here was news, indeed ! Half -dazed, 
I started to retrace my steps, when a soft 
voice beside me said: 

"Have you money, senhor?" 

''Yes," I answered. 

"Then," continued Mazanovitch, "you 
must take this train for Cuyaba. Let the 
Emperor guide you. If danger threatens 
us, telegraph me the one word, 'Lesba'! 
Do you understand, Senhor Harcliffe?" 

"I think so," said I, "but let me use 
some other word. Why drag a woman's 
name into this affair?" 

He coughed slightly. 

"It is a word you will remember," said 
he. "Good by to you, senhor." 

He had an odd way of disappearing, 
this strange Pole, whose eyes I had never 
seen. With his last word he actually 
melted into the crowd of loiterers who were 
watching the Emperor's departure, and I 
could not have found him again had I so 


Lesba's Bright Eyes 

My first thought was to rebel at leaving 
Rio, where Lesba Paola had taken refuge 
from the coming storm. But the girl seemed 
amply amused without me, and my duties 
to the interests of my dead chieftain for- 
bade my deserting the Cause at this crisis. 
Therefore I would follow the Emperor. 

As the train moved slowly out of the 
station, I swung myself upon the steps of 
the rear car, and the next instant was tum- 
bled upon the platform by a person who 
sprang up behind me. 

Angrily protesting, I scrambled to my 
feet; but the fellow, with scarcely a glance 
in my direction, passed into the car and 
made his way forward. 

The exclamations died suddenly upon 
my lips. 

The belated passenger was Senhor Val- 
cour, the spy. 




The name of an Emperor is a fine thing 
to conjure with. When we arrived at the 
station at Cuyaba at early evening a score 
of saddle-horses and several carriages were 
awaiting the royal party. 

I stood in the shadows of the station 
and watched the guardsmen mount and 
surround the equipage in which their 
imperial master seated himself. His civic 
companions men of high rank, evidently 
- occupied the other carriages ; and then 
the entire cavalcade swept away into the 
gloom and left me alone. 

The station agent was known to me as a 
patriot, but he was still bobbing his head 
after the royal party when I accosted him. 

" Get me a horse, Pedro." 

" A horse ! Ah, your excellency is joking. 
Every horse that could be found has been 
impressed by the Emperor.'* 

The Man in the Shrubbery 

"Anything will do. A nag of any sort, 
with saddle or cart, will answer my purpose. 
The Cause demands it, Pedro.'* 

"I am powerless, your excellency. Ab- 
solutely powerless!" 

It was true enough. The only way for 
me to get to de Pintra's mansion was on 
foot, and after inducing the man to give me 
a peasant's dress in exchange for my police 
uniform, I set out at once. 

It was a long and gloomy walk. There 
was a moon, but large banks of clouds were 
drifting across the sky, and the way was 
obscured more than half the time, causing 
me to go slowly in order to avoid stumbling 
into the ditches. 

I met no one on the road, for the high- 
ways were usually deserted at this hour, 
and the silence all about me added its 
depressing influence to the anxiety of my 

The Emperor's advent into this strong- 
hold of the Revolution indicated that at 
last he had determined to act and suppress 
the conspiracy that had grown to such huge 
proportions. With the real leader "the 

The Fate of a Crown 

brains of the revolt," as de Pintra was 
called out of the way, Dom Pedro doubt- 
less had concluded he could easily crush the 
remainder of the conspirators. 

But his success, I argued, would depend 
upon his securing the key to the secret 
vault, for without that the records would 
never come into his possession. 

Did he have the key? Was this the 
explanation of his sudden activity? The 
thought made me hasten my steps, but 
although I put forth my best efforts it was 
close upon midnight before I sighted the 
great hedge that surrounded de Pintra's 
mansion. I half -expected to find the gate- 
way guarded, but to my relief the avenue 
was as deserted as the highway had been. 

Cautiously I passed along the drive 
leading to the mansion. I am not usually 
nervous at such times, but something in the 
absolute stillness of the scene, something 
menacing in the deep shadows cast by the 
great trees, unnerved me and made me 
suspicious of my surrounding. 

Once, indeed, I fancied that I heard a 
stealthy footstep advancing to meet me, 

The Man in the Shrubbery 

and with a bound I sprang from the drive- 
way and crouched among the thick shrub- 
bery, listening intently. But after a few 
moments I became reassured and resumed 
my journey, avoiding this time the graveled 
drive and picking my way noiselessly across 
the grass, skirting the endless array of 
flower-beds and shrubbery. 

Fortunately the moon came out, or I 
might have lost my way; and before long 
the black line of shadow cast by the man- 
sion itself fell at my feet. Peering ahead, 
I saw that I had approached the right wing 
of the house. It was here that my own 
room was located, and with a low excla- 
mation of relief I was about to step for- 
ward into the path when my eyes fell upon 
a sight that caused me to suddenly halt and 
recoil in horror. 

It was a man's arm showing white in the 
moonlight, and extending from beneath a 
clump of low bushes. 

For a few moments I gazed at it as if 
fascinated, but quickly recovering myself 
I advanced to the bushes and gently with- 
drew the body until it lay exposed to the 

The Fate of a Crown 

full rays of the moon. I fully expected to 
recognize one of our conspirators, but when 
I turned the man over a face was disclosed 
that was wholly unknown to me that 
of a dark, swarthy person of evident intelli- 
gence and refinement. 

He had been shot squarely between the 
eyes, and doubtless had met death instantly. 
I was about to consider the man a govern- 
ment spy who had been killed by Paola or 
some other of the conspirators, when I 
discovered, with a start of dismay, that the 
man's left hand had been completely severed 
at the wrist. Also the hand was missing, 
and although I searched the ground care- 
fully in the neighborhood, I could find no 
trace of it. 

This discovery gave me ample food for 
thought. The only plausible reason for the 
hasty amputation of the hand had doubtless 
been to secure a ring which the dead man 
had worn the secret key to Dom Miguel's 
vault probably, since the murder had been 
committed at this place. 

In whose possession, then, was the ring 
now? Madam Izabel, the Emperor's spy, 

The Man in the Shrubbery 

had first stolen it. Then another had 
murdered her for its possession not a 
conspirator, for all had denied any knowl- 
edge of the ring. Could it have been the 
man who now lay dead before me? And, 
if so, who was he? And had the gov- 
ernment again managed to secure the 
precious jewel and to revenge Madam 
Izabel's assassination by mutilating this 
victim in the same way that she had been 

But if the dead man was not one of the 
few leaders of the conspiracy who knew the 
secret of the ring, how should he have 
learned its value, and risked his life to 
obtain it from Madam Izabel? 

That, however, was of no vital im- 
portance. The main thing was that the 
ring had been taken from him, and had 
once more changed ownership. 

Perhaps Paola, lurking near his uncle's 
mansion, had encountered this person and 
killed him to get the ring. If so, had he 
carried it to the Emperor? And was this 
the explanation of Dom Pedro's sudden 
visit to de Pintra's residence ? 

The Fate of a Crown 

Yet what object could Paola have in 
betraying the conspiracy at this juncture? 

Filled with these thoughts I was about 
to proceed to the house, when a sudden 
thought induced me to stoop and feel of the 
murdered man's arm. The -flesh was still 

The murder had been done that very 
evening perhaps within the hour. 

I own that the horror of the thing and 
the reckless disregard of life evinced in this 
double murder for the possession of the 
ring, warned me against proceeding further 
in the matter; and for the moment I had 
serious thoughts of returning quietly to 
Rio and taking the first steamer for New 
Orleans. But there were reasons for re- 
maining. One was to get possession in 
some way of Dom Miguel's body and see 
it decently buried; for he was my uncle's 
friend, as well as my own, and I could not 
honorably return home and admit that I had 
left him lying within the dungeon where 
his doom had overtaken him. The second 
reason I could not have definitely explained. 
Perhaps it was curiosity to see the adven- 

The Man in the Shrubbery 

ture to the end, or a secret hope that the 
revolution was too powerful to be balked. 
And then there was Lesba ! At any rate, I 
resolved not to desert the Cause just yet, 
although acknowledging it to be the wisest 
and safest course to pursue. 

So, summoning all my resolution and 
courage to my aid, I crept to the window 
of my room and, by a method that I had 
many times before made use of, admitted 
myself to the apartment. 

I had seen no lights whatever shining 
from the windows, and the house as I 
stood still and listened seemed abso- 
lutely deserted. I felt my way to a shelf, 
found a candle, and lighted it. 

Then I turned around and faced the 
barrel of a revolver that was held on a 
level with my eyes. 

"You are our prisoner, senhor!" said a 
voice, stern but suppressed. "I beg you 
to offer no resistance." 




I held the candle steadily and stared at 
my captor. He was dressed in the uniform 
of an officer of the royal guards the body 
commanded by Fonseca. At his back were 
two others, silent but alert. 

; 'You are here in the service of General 
da Fonseca?" I asked, with assumed com- 

"In the Emperor's service, senhor," 
answered the officer, quietly. 

"But the general" 

" The general is unaware of our mission. 
I have my orders from his Majesty in per- 

He smiled somewhat unpleasantly as he 
made this statement, and for the first time 
I realized that my arrest might prove a 
great misfortune. 

"Pardon me if I appear discourteous," 
he continued, and made a sign to his men. 

Dom Pedro De Alcantara 

One took the candle from my hand and 
the other snapped a pair of hand-cuffs over 
my wrists. 

I had no spirit to resist. The surprise 
had been so complete that it well-nigh 
benumbed my faculties. I heard the offi- 
cer's voice imploring me in polite tones to 
follow, and then my captors extinguished 
the candle and marched me away through a 
succession of black passages until we had 
reached an upper room at the back of the 

Here a door quickly opened and I was 
thrust into a blaze of light so brilliant that 
it nearly blinded me. 

Blinking my eyes to accustom them to 
the glare, I presently began to note my sur- 
roundings, and found myself standing be- 
fore a table at which was seated the Em- 
peror of Brazil. 

Involuntarily I bowed before his Ma- 
jesty. He was a large man, of commanding 
appearance, with dark eyes that seemed to 
read one through and through. Behind 
him stood a group of four men in civilian 
attire, while the other end of the room was 

The Fate of a Crown 

occupied by a squad of a dozen soldiers of 
the Uruguayan guard. 

"A prisoner, your Majesty," said the 
officer, saluting. "One evidently familiar 
with the house, for he obtained entrance to a 
room adjoining Dom Miguel's library." 

The Emperor turned from the papers 
that littered the table and eyed me gravely. 

; *Your name!" said he, in a stern voice. 

I hesitated; but remembering that offi- 
cially I was occupying a dungeon in Rio I 
decided to continue the deception of my 
present disguise. 

"Andrea Subig, your Majesty." 

Some one laughed softly beside me. I 
turned and saw Valcour at my elbow. 

"It is the American secretary, your Ma- 
jesty, one Robert Harcliffe by name." 

The spy spoke in his womanish, dainty 
manner, and with such evident satisfaction 
that I could have strangled him with much 
pleasure had I been free. 

"Why are you here?" inquired the Em- 
peror, after eyeing me curiously for a mo- 

" I have some personal belongings in this 

Dom Pedro De Alcantara 

house which I wished to secure before re- 
turning to the United States. Your men 
arrested me in the room I have been occu- 

"Why are you anxious to return to the 

United States?" questioned the Emperor. 

" Because my mission to Brazil is ended." 

"It is true," returned Dom Pedro, posi- 
tively. "The conspiracy is at an end." 

" Of that I am not informed," I replied 
evasively. "But I have been employed by 
Dom Miguel de Pintra, not by the conspir- 
acy, as your Majesty terms it. And Dom 
Miguel has no further need of me." 

"Dom Miguel is dead," retorted the 
Emperor, with an accent of triumph in his 

'Murdered by his daughter, your spy," 
I added, seeing that he was aware of the 

He merely shrugged his broad shoulders 
and turned to whisper to a gray-bearded 
man behind him. 

"This conspiracy must be summarily 
dealt with," resumed the Emperor, turning 
to me again, "and as there is ample evidence 

The Fate of a Crown 

that you are guilty of treason, Senhor Har- 
cliffe, I shall order you put to death unless 
you at once agree to give us such informa- 
tion, as may be in your possession." 

"I am an American citizen and entitled 
to a fair trial," I answered, boldly enough. 
;< You dare not assassinate me. For if I 
am injured in any way the United States will 
call you to full account." 

"It is a matter of treason, sir!" returned 
the Emperor, harshly. :< Your citizenship 
will not protect you in this case. I have 
myself visited your country and been 
received there with great courtesy. And 
no one knows better than I that your coun- 
trymen would repudiate one who came to 
Brazil for the treasonable purpose of de- 
throning its legitimate Emperor." 

That was true enough, and I remained 

"Will you give us the required informa- 
tion?" he demanded. 

I was curious to know how much the 

royalists had learned, and in what position 

the republicans had been placed by this 

imperial visit to their headquarters. Dom 


Dom Pedro De Alcantara 

Pedro had said that the conspiracy was at 
an end ; but I did not believe that. 

" I am sure you err in believing me to be 
in the secret counsels of the republicans," 
I said, after a moment's thought. "I was 
merely employed in the capacity of private 
secretary to Dom Miguel." 

"But you know of the underground 
vault? You have visited it?" 

"Often," I replied, seeing no harm in 
the acknowledgment. 

" Can you open it for us?" he demanded. 

I laughed, for the question exposed to 
me his real weakness. 

"Your Majesty must be well aware that 
there is but one key," I replied, "and 
without that secret key I am as powerless 
as you are to open the vault." 

"Where is the key?" he asked. 

"I do not know. Senhora de Mar stole 
it from Dom Miguel." 

"And it was taken from her by one of 
your conspirators." 

"Have you traced it no farther?" I in- 
quired, carelessly. 

He shifted uneasily in his chair. 

The Fate of a Crown 

" My men are now investigating the mat- 
ter," said he. " Doubtless the ring will soon 
be in our possession." 

"And how about the murdered man in 
the shrubbery?" I asked. 

The royalists exchanged glances, and 
one or two uttered exclamations of sur- 

"Is there a murdered man in the shrub- 
bery, Captain de Souza?" questioned the 
Emperor, sternly. 

"Not that I know of, your Majesty," 
returned the officer. 

" I found him as I approached the house," 
said I. " He has been shot within the hour, 
and his left hand severed at the wrist." 

It was evident that my news startled 
them. When I had described the location 
of the body some of the soldiers were sent 
to fetch it, and during their absence the Em- 
peror resumed his questioning. I told him 
frankly that none of the records of the re- 
publicans was in my possession, and that 
whatever knowledge I had gained of the 
conspiracy or the conspirators could not be 
drawn from me by his threats of death. For 

Dom Pedro De Alcantara 

now I began to understand that this visit to 
Dom Miguel's house was a secret one, and 
that the royalists were as much in the dark 
as ever regarding the conspiracy itself or the 
whereabouts of its leaders. One thing only 
they knew that the records were lying with 
Dom Miguel's dead body in the secret vault, 
and that the ring which opened it was miss- 

Before long the soldiers bore the body 
of the latest victim of the fatal ring into the 
presence of the Emperor, and Valcour bent 
over it eagerly for a moment, and then shook 
his head. 

"The man is a stranger," he said. 

Others present endeavored to identify 
the murdered man, but were equally un- 

I could see by their uneasy looks that 
they were all suspicious of one another; for 
Captain de Souza protested that no shot 
could have been fired without some of his 
men hearing it, and the fact that the ring 
they sought had been so recently within 
their very reach led them to believe it might 
not now be very far away. 

The Fate of a Crown 

For all the Emperor's assumed calmness, 
I knew he was greatly disturbed by this last 
murder, as well as by the impotency of his 
spies to discover the whereabouts of the 
ring. When Valcour suggested, in his soft 
voice, that I had myself killed the fellow in 
the shrubbery, and had either secreted the 
ring or had it now in my possession, they 
pounced upon me eagerly, and I was sub- 
jected to a thorough search and afterward 
to severe questioning and many fierce 

For a few moments the Emperor listened 
to the counsels of the group of advisors that 
stood at his back, and then ordered me 
safely confined until he had further use 
for me. 

The officer therefore marched me away 
to the front of the house, where, still securely 
hand-cuffed, I was thrust into a small cham- 
ber and left alone. The key was turned in 
the lock and I heard the soft foot-falls of a 
guard pacing up and down outside the 

The long walk from the station and the 
excitement of the last hour had greatly 

Dom Pedro De Alcantara 

wearied me ; so I groped around in the dark 
until I found the bed with which the room 
was provided, and soon had forgotten all 
about the dreary conspiracy in a refreshing 




Toward morning a tramping of feet 
aroused me; the door was thrust open long 
enough for another prisoner to be admitted, 
and then I heard the bolts shoot into their 
fastening and the soldiers march away. 

It was not quite dark in the room, for the 
shutters were open and admitted a ray of 
moonlight through the window. So I lay 
still and strained my eyes to discover who 
my companion might be. 

He stood motionless for a time in the place 
the soldiers had left him. I made out that 
he was tall and stooping, and exceedingly 
thin ; but his face was in shadow. Presently, 
as he moved, I heard a chain clank, and 
knew he was hand-cuffed in the same man- 
ner as myself. 

Slowly he turned his body, peering into 
every corner of the room, so that soon he 
discovered me lying where the moonlight 

The Man with the Ring 

was strongest. He gave a start, then, but 
spoke no word; and again an interval of 
absolute silence ensued. 

His strange behavior began to render me 
uneasy. It is well to know something of a 
person confined with you in a small room at 
the dead of night, and I was about to address 
the fellow when he began stealthily ap- 
proaching the bed. He might have been 
three yards distant when I arose to a sitting 
posture. This caused him to pause, his 
form well within the streak of light. Resting 
upon the edge of the bed and facing him, 
my own features were clearly disclosed, and 
we examined each other curiously. 

I had never seen him before, and I had 
little pleasure in meeting him then. He 
appeared to be a man at least fifty years of 
age, with pallid, sunken cheeks, eyes bright, 
but shifting in their gaze, and scanty gray 
locks that now hung disordered over a low 
forehead. His form was thin and angular, 
his clothing of mean quality, and his hands, 
which dangled before him at the ends of the 
short chain, were large and hardened by 


The Fate of a Crown 

Not a Brazilian, I decided at once; but 
I could not then determine his probable 

"Likewise a prisoner, senor?" he in- 
quired, in an indistinct, mumbling tone, 
and with a strong accent. 

;< Yes," I answered. 

"Ah, conspirator. I see; I see!" He 
nodded his head several times, and then 
growled sentences that I could not under- 

While I stared at him he turned away 
again, and with a soft and stealthy tread 
made the entire circuit of the room, feeling 
of each piece of furniture it contained, and 
often pausing for many moments in one 
spot as if occupied in deep thought. 

At last he approached the bed again, 
dragging after him a chair in which he slowly 
seated himself opposite me. 

"Retain your couch, senor," he mutter- 
ed. "I shall not disturb you, and it will 
soon be morning. You may sleep." 

But I was now fully awake, and had no 
intention of sleeping while this strange in- 
dividual occupied his seat beside me. 

The Man with the Ring 

"Who are you?" I demanded. "A pa- 

"Not as you use the term," he answered, 
at once. " I am Mexican." 

"Mexican!" I echoed, surprised. "Do 
you speak English?" 

"Truly, senor," he answered, but his 
English was as bad as his Portuguese. 

"Why are you here and a prisoner?" 
I asked. 

"I had business with Senor de Pintra. 
I came from afar to see him, but found the 
soldiers inhabiting his house. I am timid, 
senor, and suspecting trouble I hid in an 
out-building, where the soldiers discovered 
me. Why I should be arrested I do not 
know. I am not conspirator; I am not even 
Brazilian. I do not care for your politics 
whatever. They tell me Miguel de Pintra 
is dead. Is it true?" 

His tone did not seem sincere. But I re- 
plied it was true that Dom Miguel was dead. 

"Then I should be allowed to depart. 
But not so. They tell me the great Em- 
peror is here, their Dom Pedro, and he will 
speak to me in the morning. Is it true?" 

The Fate of a Crown 

This time I detected an anxiety in his 
voice that told me he had not suspected the 
Emperor's presence until his arrest. 

But I answered that Dom Pedro was then 
occupying de Pintra's mansion, together 
with many of his important ministers. 

For a time he remained silent, probably 
considering the matter with care. But he 
was ill at ease, and shifted continually in his 

; 'You are Americano?" he asked at last. 

"Yes," said I. 

" I knew, when you ask me for my Eng- 
lish. But why does the Emperor arrest an 
American ?" 

I smiled ; but there was no object in try- 
ing to deceive him. 

" I was private secretary to Dom Miguel," 
said I, "and they suspect my late master 
to have plotted against the Emperor." 

He laughed, unpleasantly. 

" It is well your master is dead when they 
make that suspicion," said he; then paused 
a moment and asked, abruptly, "Did he 
tell you of the vault?" 

I stared at him. A Mexican, not a con- 

The Man with the Ring 

spirator, yet aware of the secret vault! It 
occurred to me that it would be well to keep 
my own counsel, for a time, at least. 

"A vault?" I asked, carelessly, and shook 
my head. 

Again the fellow laughed disagreeably. 
But my answer seemed to have pleased him. 

"He was sly! Ah, he was sly, the dear 
Senor Miguel!" he chuckled, rocking his 
thin form back and forth upon the chair. 
"But never mind. It is nothing. I never 
pry into secrets, senor. It is not my nature." 

I said nothing and another silent fit 
seized him. Perhaps five minutes had 
passed before he arose and made a second 
stealthy circuit of the room, this time ex- 
amining the barred window with great care. 
Then he sighed heavily and came back to 
his seat. 

"What will be your fate, senor?" he 

"I shall appeal to our consul at Rio. 
They must release me," I answered. 

"Good. Very good! They must re- 
lease you. You are no conspirator a mere 
secretary, and an American." 

I nodded, wishing I might share his con- 

The Fate of a Crown 

fidence. Presently he asked for my name 
and residence, and I answered him truly. 

"I myself am Manuel Pesta, of the City 
of Mexico. You must not forget the name, 
senor. Manuel Pesta, the clockmaker." 

"I shall not forget," said I, wondering 
what he could mean. And a moment later 
he startled me by bending forward and ask- 
ing in an eager tone : 

"Have they searched you?" 


"It is my turn soon. This morning." 

He leaned back in his chair, closed his 
eyes, and fell silent again. 

For my part I lay back upon the pillow, 
yet taking care to face him, and so we re- 
mained until daylight came and gradually 
drove the shadows from the little room. 

Even then my strange companion did not 
move. He was indeed a queer mixture of 
eager activity and absolute self-repression. 
Another hour passed, and then we heard 
footsteps approaching down the passageway. 

With a start Pesta aroused himself and 

fixed a searching glance upon my face. 

Trembling with nervousness he suddenly 

raised his manacled hands and removed 


The Man with the Ring 

from his mouth a small object that glittered 
in the morning light. 

My heart gave a sudden bound. It was 
the ring that opened the secret vault! 

His own agitation prevented his noting 
my amazement. Thrusting the ring toward 
me he whispered, hurriedly: 

"Conceal it, quickly, for the love of God ! 
Keep it until I come for it I, Manuel Pesta 
until I demand it of Robert Harcliffe of 
New Orleans. It may be to-day it may 
be many days. But I will come, senor, I 

The bolts of the door shot back and a 
squad of soldiers entered. Their sudden 
appearance barely gave me time to drop the 
ring into an outside pocket of my coat. As 
two of the soldiers seized him I noticed that 
the Mexican was trembling violently; but 
he arose meekly and submitted to be led 
from the room. Two others motioned me 
to follow, and in a few moments we were 
ushered into the room where I had had my 
interview with the Emperor. 

Valcour was standing by the fireplace 
when we entered, and eyeing the Mexican 
with indifference he said to the captain: 

The Fate of a Crown 

"This is the man you found secreted in 
the out-building?" 

"It is, senhor," answered the captain. 

"Have you searched him?" 

"Only partially. We took from him 
this revolver, a knife, and this purse. There 
were no papers." 

Valcour took the weapons in his hands 
and examined them. The revolver, I could 
see as he threw back the barrel, was loaded 
in all six chambers. The knife he glanced 
at and turned to place upon the mantel when 
a second thought seemingly induced him to 
open the blades. It was a large, two-bladed 
affair, and the bright steel showed that it 
was sharpened as finely as a razor. As I 
watched the Emperor's spy I chanced to 
look toward the Mexican and surprised an 
expression that nearly resembled terror upon 
his haggard face. Perhaps Valcour saw it, 
too, for he drew a handkerchief from his 
pocket and carefully wiped out the seats in 
the handles where the blades lay when the 
knife was closed. A small stain appeared 
upon the linen, and the spy carried the hand- 
kerchief to the window and inspected the 

The Man with the Ring 

stain with interest. While he was thus en- 
gaged the Emperor entered the room, fol- 
lowed by his ministers, and seating himself 
at the table calmly proceeded to light a 
cigar. Evidently he had just breakfasted, 
for he had an appearance of content that 
indicated a comfortable condition. 

Valcour, returning from the window, first 
saluted the Emperor with great deference, 
and then addressed the Mexican. 

"Why did you kill that man last evening 
and sever his hand with your knife?" 

The Mexican gazed at him in horror. 

"I senor, as God hears me, I 

"Tell me why!" said Valcour calmly. 

The fellow glared at him as if fascinated. 
Then he threw his hands, all manacled as 
they were, high above his head, and with a 
scream that caused even the Emperor to 
start, fell upon the floor in a swoon. 

Valcour turned him over with his foot. 

"Search him!" he commanded. 

The men were thorough. Not a shred of 
clothing escaped their eyes. And after they 
had finished the detective himself made an 


The Fate of a Crown 

Dom Pedro was evidently much inter- 
ested. Without any explanation further 
than Valcour's accusation, all present un- 
derstood that the Mexican was charged with 
the murder of the man found in the shrub- 
bery and therefore he must either have the 
ring upon his person or had deposited it in 
some secret place. 

He lay unconscious after the search had 
ended, and Valcour, after a moment's re- 
flection, ordered the men to carry him back 
to the room where he had passed the night, 
to guard him well, and to send for a phy- 

The Emperor relighted his cigar, which 
had gone out, and in the interval I heard 
the sound of a troup of horse galloping up 
the drive. There was no mistaking the 
clank of sabers, and Dom Pedro leaned for- 
ward with an expectant look upon his face, 
in which the others joined. 

Then the door burst open and a man 
entered and knelt before the Emperor. I 
could scarcely restrain a cry of surprise as I 
saw him. 

It was Francisco Paola. 



Not since I parted with him in the road 
on the morning of Dom Miguel's murder 
had I seen Paola or heard from him directly. 

At that time, after giving me two men 
who had proved faithful both to me and the 
Cause, he had ridden on to the house of 
death "to breakfast with his sister." From 
that moment his actions had been a mystery 
not only to me but to all his fellow-con- 

But now it seemed easy to understand 
that the Minister of Police had been attend- 
ing to the Emperor's business, and that he 
had also been playing a double game from 
the beginning, and promoting the revolu- 
tion that he might the more easily crush it. 

As he rose to his feet after saluting the 

Emperor, Paola glanced around the room 

and noted my presence. I could not well 

disguise the scorn I felt for this treacherous 


The Fate of a Crown 

fellow, and as he met my eyes he smiled and 
twirled his small moustache with a satisfied 

"Well?" demanded the Emperor. 

"All is indeed well, your Majesty," re- 
turned the minister, lightly. "The leaders 
of the conspiracy, with one exception, are 
now under arrest." 

"And that one?" 

"Sanchez Bastro, a coffee-planter with 
a ranch near by. He has crossed the bor- 
der. But it is unimportant." 


"Imprisoned in the citadel." 


"He is comforting Mendez, in the same 


"Unfortunately we were obliged to shoot 
him. He chose to resist. 

"Hm! AndPiexoto?" 

"Is below, under arrest." 

" Have him brought here." The captain 
left the room, and again the Emperor turned 
to Paola. 

"You have done well, senhor; and your 

A Dangerous Moment 

reward shall be adequate. It was a far- 
reaching plot, and dangerous." And Dom 
Pedro sighed as if greatly relieved. 

Paola brushed a speck of dust from his 
sleeve and laughed in his silly fashion. 

"The serpent is only dangerous, your 
Majesty, until its fangs are pulled," he 
drawled, and strolled away toward Valcour, 
while the soldiers brought in Senhor Flori- 
ano Piexoto. 

The famous patriot was not only hand- 
cuffed, but his elbows were bound together 
by cords across his back. But despite his 
bonds he walked proudly and scowled into 
Dom Pedro's face as he confronted him. 
Indeed, I was filled with admiration to find 
that this man whom Fonseca had called 
"croaker" could be brave when occasion 
demanded it. 

" So, my clever statesman has seen fit to 
turn traitor," began the Emperor, sternly 
regarding the prisoner. 

"A champion of Liberty must needs be a 
traitor to Dom Pedro," replied Piexoto, 
with equal sternness. 

"But the conspiracy is at an end, and I 

The Fate of a Crown 

am inclined to be merciful," resumed the 
Emperor. " I am told you were the trusted 
friend of Miguel de Pintra, and knew his 
secrets. If you will inform us how to unlock 
the secret vault, I will promise to regard 
your offense lightly." 

Piexoto stared at him a moment indig- 
nantly. Then he turned with a frown upon 

"Ask of your Minister of Police," he re- 
torted; "for there stands a double traitor! 
It was he who stood closest to de Pintra, 
winning his confidence only to betray it. 
It was Francisco Paola who planned the 
secret vault. Who should know better than 
he how to open it?" 

The Emperor turned to Paola with sus- 
picion written visibly upon his stern features. 

" Did you plan the vault?" he demanded. 

"Truly, your Majesty. Otherwise the 
records would have been scattered in many 
places. I planned the vault that all might 
be concentrated in one place where we 
should find them when we were ready to ex- 
plode the conspiracy. Records plans 
money all are now at our hand." 

A Dangerous Moment 

"But we have not the key. Why did 
you plan so complicated a lock ?" 

"Nothing else would have satisfied de 
Pintra. As for the lock, it is nothing. A 
drill through one of the steel panels would 
have admitted us easily. But " 

"But what, sir? Why do we not drill 
now, instead of seeking this cursed ring?" 

The Minister smiled and again twirled 
his moustaches. 

"Because Dom Miguel suddenly devel- 
oped inventive genius on his own part. I 
was absent when the work was completed, 
and too late I discovered that de Pintra had 
made pockets everywhere between the steel 
plates, and filled every pocket with nitro- 


"That is all. To drill into the vault is 
to explode a pocket of nitro-glycerine, which 
in turn will explode all the other pockets 
through concussion." 

"And then?" 

"And then the contents of the vault would 
be blown to atoms. Of the mansion itself 
not one stone would remain upon another. 


The Fate of a Crown 

The records we seek would be lost irrevo- 

Valcour, pale with fear, uttered a cry and 
dashed through the door, while the Emperor 
rose to his feet with a look of terror upon his 

"They are drilling now!" he gasped. 

Silently we stood, none daring to move; 
and into our drawn faces Piexoto gazed with 
a grim and derisive smile. 

Paolo, more composed than any of the 
others, except Piexoto, began rolling a cigar- 
ette, but remembering the Emperor's pres- 
ence he ceased. 

And so we stood, motionless and silent, 
until footsteps were again heard and Valcour 
re-entered wiping the perspiration from his 
forehead with an embroidered handkerchief. 
His face wore a look of relief, but there was 
a slight tremor in his voice as he said: 

"I have ordered the drilling stopped, 
your Majesty." 

Dom Pedro, thus reassured, strode back 
and forth in evident perplexity. 

"We must have the key!" he said, an- 
grily. "There is no other way. And the 

A Dangerous Moment 

key cannot be far off. Has your prisoner, 
the Mexican, recovered?" 

"I will go and see," answered the detec- 
tive, and again left the room. 

I caught a look of surprise upon the face 
of the Minister of Police. It was fleeting, 
but I was sure it had been there. 

"May I inquire who this prisoner is?" 
he asked. One of the men who acted as 
secretary to the Emperor, receiving a nod 
from Dom Pedro, informed Paola of the 
finding of the dead body in the shrubbery, 
and of the consequent arrest of the Mexican. 

"And the key was not found in his pos- 
session?" he inquired, eagerly. 


"Then he secreted it, fearing arrest. 
Have the out-buildings been searched?" 

"Not yet." 

"Let it be done at once." 

Valcour, entering in time to hear this, 
flushed angrily. 

"That is my business, Senhor Paola. I 
will brook no interference from the police." 

"Ah! had it not been for the police, 
Senhor Valcour would have blown his 

The Fate of a Crown 

Emperor into eternity," returned Paola, 
smiling blandly into the spy's disturbed 

"Enough of this!" cried the Emperor. 
" Let the grounds and out-buildings be care- 
fully searched. Is your prisoner recovered, 

"He is raving mad," returned the de- 
tective, in a surly tone. "It requires two 
soldiers to control him." 

I breathed a sigh of relief, for I had feared 
the Mexican, in his terror, would betray the 
fact that he had given me the ring. 




The Emperor retired while the search 
of the grounds was being conducted, and 
Piexoto and I were escorted to another room 
upon the ground floor and locked in. There 
were two unbarred windows looking upon 
the grounds, but a sentry was posted at each 
of these, and as we were still hand-cuffed, 
our escape was impossible. 

For a time my companion did nothing 
but curse Paola in the most hearty and di- 
versified manner, and I made no effort to 
stop him. But finally this amusement 
grew monotonous even to its author, and he 
asked me how I had allowed myself to be 

I therefore related my adventures, but 
said nothing about the ring. 

"I have always suspected Paola," he told 
me, "and often warned Dom Miguel against 
him. The man's very nature is frivolous. 

The Fate of a Crown 

He could not be expected to keep faith. 
Yet it is surprising he did not choose to 
betray the Emperor, rather than us; for 
the Revolution is too powerful and too far 
advanced to be quelled by the arrest of a few 
of its leaders." 

"But what of Fonseca?" I asked curious- 
ly. "Why was he not arrested also? Why 
was not his name mentioned to the Em- 

"I confess the fact puzzles me," returned 
Piexoto, thoughtfully. "Fonseca is even 
more compromised than I am myself, and 
unless he had a secret understanding with 
Paola, and purchased immunity, I cannot 
account for his escaping arrest." 

"But the general will not forsake the 
cause, I am sure," I said, earnestly. "And 
it seems that Senhor Bastro, also, has suc- 
ceeded in eluding arrest. Therefore, should 
the royalists fail to find the key to the vault, 
all may yet be well, in spite of Paola's 

"There is another perplexing matter," 
returned Piexoto, pacing the room in deep 
thought. " Miguel de Pintra never told me 

Traitor to the Cause 

the vault was sheathed with nitre-glycerine. 
Did you know it?" 

"Yes," I answered. "But the secret 
was revealed to me by Lesba Paola, the 
Minister's sister. 

"I can scarcely believe it, nevertheless," 
he resumed. "Yet what object could the 
traitor have in preventing their reaching the 
records, unless he knew the attempt to drill 
through the walls would destroy us all 
himself included ? " 

"Perhaps he has fear that the records 
would incriminate him with the Emperor," 
I suggested. 

" Bah ! He has made his terms, evident- 
ly. That he worked faithfully in our in- 
terests for a time is quite believable; but 
either the Emperor's bribes were too tempt- 
ing or he lost faith in the Cause." 

I was about to reply w^hen the door 
opened to admit Paola. Piexoto paused in 
his walk to glare at the Minister, and I 
was myself no less surprised at the in- 
opportune visit. 

But Paola, with the old, smirking smile 
upon his face that nothing ever seemed to 

banish, nodded pleasantly at us and sat 
down in an easy-chair. He rolled a cigar- 
ette and carefully lighted it before he ad- 
dressed us. 

"Senhors, you are about to denounce 
me as a traitor to the Cause," said he; "but 
you may both spare your words. Before 
the Cause existed I was Minister to the Em- 
peror. A policeman walks in devious paths. 
If I am true to the oath I gave the Emperor, 
how dare you, Floriano Piexoto, who have 
violated yours, condemn me?" 

"I don't," answered the other. "It is 
absurd to condemn a man like you. Treach- 
ery is written on every line of your false face. 
My only regret is that I did not kill you long 

"Yet the chief, Dom Miguel de Pintra, 
trusted me," remarked Paola, in a musing 
tone, at the same time flicking the ash from 
his cigarette with a deliberate gesture. " He 
was, it seems, the only one." 

"Not so," said I, angry at his insolent 
bearing. :< Your sister, sir, had faith in you." 

He looked at me with a quizzical expres- 
sion, and laughed. I had ventured the re- 

Traitor to the Cause 

mark in an endeavor to pierce his shield of 
conceit and indifference. But it seemed 
that even Lesba's misplaced confidence 
failed to shame him, for at that moment 
the girl's loyalty to the Cause seemed to me 
beyond a doubt. 

"My sister was, I believe, an ardent re- 
publican. Poor little girl ! How could she 
judge the merits of a political controversy? 
But there, senhors, let us have done with 
chidings. I am come for the key." 

Piexoto and I stared at each other aghast. 
The key ! Could the Minister suspect either 
of us of possessing it? 

"Quite prettily acted, gentlemen," he 
resumed, "but it is useless to oppose my 
request. I suppose our friend Harcliffe has 
passed it on to you, senhor ? No ? Then 
he must have it on his person." 

"Are you mad?" I asked, with well- 
assumed contempt. 

"No; but the Mexican is. I have just 
left his room, and he raves perpetually of a 
ring he has given to Robert Harcliffe, of 
New Orleans. A ring that must be restored 
to him on demand." 


The Fate of a Crown 

"He raves," said I, coolly, although my 
heart was beating wildly. 

"He does, indeed," acknowledged Paola. 
"And he tells exactly where the ring was 
placed in the outer pocket of your jacket. 
Will you pardon me, senhor, if I prove the 
truth of his assertion?" 

He rose and advanced to me with a soft, 
stealthy tread, and I backed away until I 
stood fairly against the wall, vainly endeav- 
oring to find some way to circumvent him. 

"Hold!" cried a clear voice, and as 
Paola swung around upon his heel I saw 
beyond him the form of Valcour outlined by 
the dark doorway. 

"You were doubtless about to search the 
prisoner, senhor," said the spy, calmly, as 
he approached us. "I have myself just 
come from the Mexican's room and heard 
his ravings. But the task must be mine, 
since the Emperor has placed the search for 
the key in my hands." 

Paola turned with a slight shrug and re- 
sumed his seat. 

"I have searched the prisoner already," 
he announced, "but failed to find the ring. 

Traitor to the Cause 

Doubtless he has passed it to Piexoto, or 
secreted it. Or, it may be, the Mexican's 
words are mere ravings." 

The detective hesitated. 

"Who is this Mexican, Senhor Paola?" 
he asked. 

"Frankly, I do not know. Not a con- 
spirator, I am sure, and evidently not a 
royalist. ' ' 

"Then how came he to know of the ex- 
istence of the ring?" 

"A mystery, my dear Valcour. Have 
you yet identified the man this Mexican 

"Not yet." 

"I myself have not had a good look at 
the body. If you will take me to him I will 
endeavor to locate the fellow. It was 
doubtless he who murdered Madam Iz- 

As he spoke he rose and walked quietly 
toward the door, as if he expected Valcour 
to follow. But the spy, suddenly suspicious, 
cast a shrewd glance at me and replied: 

"One moment, Senhor Paola. I must 
satisfy myself that neither Harcliffe nor 

The Fate of a Crown 

Piexoto has the ring, in order that I may 
report to the Emperor." 

"As you like,'* returned the Minister, 
indifferently, and resumed his chair. 

Valcour came straight to my side, thrust 
his hand withimny pocket, and drew out the 

"Ah!" he cried, his face lighting with 
joy, "your search must have been a careless 
one, my dear Paola! Here is news for the 
Emperor, at last." 

He hurried from the room, and Paola, 
still smiling, rose and faced us. 

"It is a great pity," said he, pleasantly, 
with his eyes on my face, "that God per- 
mits any man to be a fool." 

Before I could reply he had followed 
Valcour from the room, and Piexoto, re- 
garding me with a sullen frown, exclaimed : 

" I can say amen to that ! Why did you 
not tell me you had the ring?" 

I did not reply. The taunts and the loss 
of the ring had dazed me and I sank into 
a chair and covered my eyes with my 

Pacing the room with furious energy, 

Traitor to the Cause 

Piexoto growled a string of laments and re- 
proaches into my unwilling ears. 

" My poor comrades ! It is their death- 
warrant. These records will condemn to 
punishment half the great families of Bra- 
zil. And now when the battle is almost 
won, to have them fall into the Emperor's 
hands. Thank God, de Pintra is dead! 
This blow would be worse to him than 
death itself." 

" However," said I, somewhat recovering 
myself, "we shall now secure his body from 
that grim vault. That is one satisfaction, 
at least." 

He did not see fit to reply to this, but 
paced the floor in as great agitation as before. 

Captain de Souza entered with two of his 

"The Emperor commands you to unlock 
the vault," he said to me. " Be good enough 
to follow, senhor. And Senhor Piexoto is 
also requested to be present." 

"Tell the Emperor I refuse to unlock the 
vault," I returned, firmly. 

"And why?" demanded Piexoto, scorn- 
fully. " It is merely a question of time, now 

The Fate of a Crown 

that they have the key, when they will find 
the right indentation in the door." 

"True," I answered. Then, to the cap- 
tain: "Lead on, I will follow." 

They escorted us to the library and down 
the winding stair until we stood in the well- 
known chamber at the end of the passage. 
The outer door of the vault lay open, dis- 
playing the steel surface of the inner door, 
with its countless indentations. 

The Emperor and his secretary, together 
with Paola and Valcour, were awaiting us. 
The latter handed me the ring. 

" His Majesty commands you to open the 
door, senhor Americano," he said. 

" I believe the Minister of Police designed 
this vault. Let him open it himself," I re- 
plied, my resolution halting- at the thought 
of what the open door would reveal. 

"Yes, I designed it," said the Minister, 
"but I did not execute the work. Doubtless 
in time I could open the door; but the Em- 
peror is impatient." 

I saw that further resistance was useless. 
Bending over, I fitted the stone of the ring 
into the proper indentation, and shot the 

Traitor to the Cause 

bolts. The great door was swung upward, 
a whiff of the damp, confined air entered 
my nostrils and made me shiver. 

Reaching my hand within the vault I 
turned the switch that threw on the electric 
light, and then withdrew that the others 
might enter. 

But no one moved. The light illumin- 
ated the full interior of the great vault, and 
every eye gazed eagerly within. 

Valcour uttered a groan of baffled rage; 
Piexoto swore horribly in a scarcely audi- 
ble tone, and the Minister of Police laughed. 

"Good God!" cried the Emperor, with 
staring eyeballs, "the vault is empty!" 




With a bound I stood within the grim 
vault and searched its confines with anxious 
eyes. True enough, the place was empty. 
Not a scrap of paper, a book, or a bank-note 
had been left there. The shelves that lined 
the walls were as bare as Mother Hubbard's 

The records of the Revolution were gone. 
The body of Miguel de Pintra was gone. 
Thank God, the great and glorious Cause 
was as yet safe ! 

Valcour was on his hands and knees, 
prying into the corners for some scrap that 
might have been overlooked. 

Paola stood beside me with the old ag- 
gravating simper upon his face, twirling one 
end of his moustache. 

Suddenly Valcour stood up and faced 

"Traitor!" he cried, with a passionate 

The Torch of Rebellion 

gesture, "it is you who have done this! It 
is you who have led us here only to humiliate 
us and laugh at us!" 

'Your Majesty," said Paola, without 
moving his head, "will you kindly protect 
me from the insults of your servants?" 

"Have peace, Valcour!" growled the 
Emperor. "Senhor Francisco has proved 
his loyalty, and doubtless shares our chag- 
rin. Come, gentlemen, let us leave this 
dismal place." 

I followed slowly in the train of the party 
as it wound its way through the narrow pas- 
sage and up the iron stairs into the library. 
My hand-cuffs had been removed when I 
was brought to open the vault, and an idea 
came to me to lag behind and try to effect 
my escape from the house. 

But Valcour was waiting for me at the 
trap door, and called Captain de Souza to 
guard me. I was taken to the large room 
on the ground floor, from whence they had 
brought me, thrust through the doorway, 
and the key turned upon me. 

Piexoto had been taken elsewhere, and I 
found myself alone. 


The Fate of a Crown 

My thoughts were naturally confused by 
the amazing discovery we had just made, 
and I was so engaged in wondering what 
had become of Dom Miguel and the records 
that I scarcely looked up when the door 
opened to admit Francisco Paola. 

He had in his hand a small parcel that 
looked like a box, which he placed upon a 
table near the open window. 

Next he drew a note-book from his pock- 
et, scribbled some lines upon three several 
leaves, and then, tearing them out, he reach- 
ed within the box, taking care to lift but a 
portion of the cover, and busied himself 
some moments in a way that made me won- 
der what he could be doing. I had no sus- 
picion of the truth until he carried the box 
to the window and quickly removed the 
cover. Then, although his back was toward 
me, I heard a rapid flutter of wings, followed 
by a strange silence, and I knew that Paola 
was following with his eyes the flight of the 
birds he had liberated. 

"So, my dear Minister, I have at last 
discovered your secret!" said a sharp voice, 
and as Paola whirled about I noted that 

The Torch of Rebellion 

Valcour had entered the room and was 
standing with folded arms and eyes that 
sparkled triumphantly. 

"Orders to my men," remarked the 
Minister, quietly, and brushed a small 
feather from his arm. 

"True enough !" retorted Valcour, with a 
bitter smile. " Orders to General Fonseca, 
whom you strangely overlooked in making 
your decoy arrests. Orders to Sanchez Bas- 
tro, who is to distribute arms to the rebels ! 
And where did the third pigeon go, my loyal 
and conscientious Minister of Police? To 
Mazanovitch, or to that Miguel de Pintra 
whom you falsely led us to believe had per- 
ished in yonder vault?" 

He came close to the Minister. 

"Traitor! In setting free these birds 
you have fired the torch of rebellion; that 
terrible flame which is liable to sweep the 
land, and consume royalist and republican 

Paola, the sneering smile for once gone 
from his face, gazed at his accuser with 
evident admiration. 

"You are wonderfully clever, my dear 

The Fate of a Crown 

Valcour," said he, slowly. "You have wit; 
you have a clear judgment; your equal is 
not in all Brazil. What a pity, my friend, 
that you are not one of us !" 

Somehow, the words seemed to ring true. 

Valcour flushed to the roots of his hair. 

"I hate you," he cried, stamping his foot 
with passion. "You have thwarted me 
always. You have laughed at me sneered 
at me defied me! But at last I have you 
in the toils. Francisco Paola, I arrest you 
in the name of the Emperor." 

"On what charge?" 

"The charge of treason!" 

Paola laughed softly, and in a tone de- 
noting genuine amusement. 

"Come, my brave detective," said he; 
"we will go to the Emperor together, and 
accuse each other to our hearts' content!" 

He attempted to take Valcour's arm, in 
his inimitable jaunty fashion; but the spy 
shook him off and followed Paola from the 
room, trembling with suppressed rage. 

For my part, I knew not what to make 
of the scene, except that these men were bit- 
ter enemies, and each endeavoring to destroy 

The Torch of Rebellion 

the other. But could Valcour's accusation 
be true? Had the torch of revolution really 
been fired? 

God forbid that I should ever meet with 
such another man as Francisco Paola again ! 
Deep or shallow, coxcomb or clever con- 
spirator, true man or traitor it was as im- 
possible to read him or to judge his real 
character as to solve the mighty, unfathom- 
able secrets of Nature. 

One moment I called him traitor; the 
next I was sure he was faithful to the Cause. 
But who could judge the man aright? Not 
I, indeed! 

Thus reflecting, I approached the win- 
dow and looked out. Eight feet below me 
one of the Uruguayan guards paced back 
and forth upon the green lawn, his short 
carbine underneath his arm, and a poniard 
swinging at his side. 

The fellow looked up and saw me. 

"Close that window!" he commanded, 
with a scowl. 

I obeyed, sliding the sash to its place. 
But still I gazed through the glass at the 
labyrinth of walks and hedges defining the 

The Fate of a Crown 

extensive gardens at this side of the house. 
I knew every inch of these grounds, having 
wandered there many hours during my so- 
journ at the mansion. And the thought 
came to me that it would not be difficult to 
escape in that maze of hedge and shrubbery, 
had I once a fair start of my pursuers. 

Within my range of vision was a portion 
of the driveway, and presently I saw the 
Emperor's carriage roll away, followed by 
several others. Piexoto was seated in the 
last of the carriages, but only a small portion 
of the Uruguayan guard accompanied the 

I tried to see if the Minister of Police was 
among those who were returning to Rio, but 
was unable to note his presence in the brief 
time the carriages were in view. Nor did 
Valcour seem to be with them. Captain de 
Souza evidently remained in charge of the 
guards left at the mansion. 

Well, I longed to leave the place myself, 
now that the emptiness of the secret vault 
had been disclosed; but for some reason 
my captors desired me to remain a prisoner. 

The day dragged wearily away. One 

The Torch of Rebellion 

of the Uruguayans brought me food at noon- 
time, and I ate with good appetite. The 
room grew close, but when I attempted to 
raise the window the surly guard outside 
presented his carbine, and I respected his 
wish to leave the sash lowered. 

During this time I had ample opportu- 
nity to speculate upon the astonishing events 
of the morning; but my attempt to solve 
the problem of what had become of Dom 
Miguel and the records seemed absolutely 
futile. That the body of the chief had been 
removed by some friendly hand the same 
that had saved the funds and papers there 
was no doubt whatever. But when had 
this removal taken place? 

At one time a fleeting hope animated me 
that the vault had been entered in time to 
save Dom Miguel from suffocation; but a 
little reflection soon caused me to abandon 
that notion. Allowing that the slayer of 
Madam Izabel had been a patriot, and left 
the train at the first station beyond Cruz, 
he could not possibly have returned to de 
Pintra's mansion on the swiftest horse within 
eight hours of the time my friend had been 

The Fate of a Crown 

entombed alive, and long before that Dom 
Miguel would have succumbed to the con- 
fined atmosphere of his prison. 

Moreover, none of the conspirators who 
knew of the ring or was competent to recog- 
nize it had been on the train at the time of 
Izabel de Mar's death. Therefore the pa- 
triot who finally secured the key to the vault 
and saved the records must have obtained 
the ring long after any hope of saving the 
life of the imprisoned chief had been aban- 

Somehow, it occurred to me that the man 
in the shrubbery had not been murdered 
by the Mexican, but by some one of our 
band who had promptly cleared the vault 
and escaped with the contents even while 
the Emperor and his party were in possession 
of the house. The ring might have been 
dropped during the escape and found by 
the Mexican this being the only plausible 
way to account for its being in his possession. 

Although these speculations were to some 

extent a diversion, and served to occupy my 

thoughts during my tedious confinement, 

there were many details to contradict their 


The Torch of Rebellion 

probability, and I was not at all positive that 
I had discovered the right explanation of the 

It must have been near evening when the 
door was again opened. This time a man 
was thrust into the room and the door 
quickly locked upon us. 

I started from my chair with an exclama- 
tion of dismay. My fellow-prisoner was 
the mad Mexican! 




The man did not seem to notice my 
presence at first. For a time he remained 
motionless in the position the guards had 
left him, his vacant eyes fixed steadily upon 
the opposite wall. 

Then, with a long-drawn sigh, his gaze 
fell and wandered to the table where stood 
the remains of my luncheon. With a wolf- 
like avidity he pounced upon the tray, eager- 
ly consuming every scrap that I had left, 
and draining a small bottle of wine of the 
last dregs it contained. 

When he had finished he still continued 
to fumble about the tray, and presently 
picked up a large, two-tined steel fork and 
examined it with careful attention. They 
had brought no knife into the room, and I 
had scarcely noticed the fork before; yet 
now, as the Mexican held it firmly in his 
clinched fist, and passed it to and fro with a 

A Narrow Escape 

serpent-like motion, I realized with a thrill 
of anxiety that it might prove a terrible 
weapon in the hands of a desperate man. 

Evidently my fellow-prisoner had the 
same thought, for after a time he concealed 
the fork in his bosom, and then turned to 
examine the room more carefully. His 
first act was to approach the window, and 
when he started and shrank away I knew 
our ever- vigilant guard had warned him not 
to consider that avenue of escape. 

Next he swung around and faced the 
place where I sat, slightly in the shadow. 
The day was drawing to its close, and he had 
not noticed me before. A swift motion 
toward his breast was followed by a smile, 
and he advanced close to me and said, in his 
stumbling English: 

"Aha! My American frien' to which I 
gave the ring! It is safe, senor? It is 

I nodded, thinking to humor him. In- 
deed, I could not determine at that moment 
whether the man was still insane or not. 

He drew a chair to my side and sat 


The Fate of a Crown 

" Listen, then, my frien'. Together we 
will find riches riches very great! Why? 
Because we Mexicans Careno and my- 
self we build the door of the big vault 
under this house. So? They bring us 
here blindfold. We work many days on 
the big plate with strange device cut in the 
steel. Careno was expert. Only one place, 
cut with great cunning, shot the bolts in 
their sockets. For myself, I am clock- 
maker and gem-cutter. They tell me to 
cut emerald so it fit the plate, and mount 
it in ring. Yes, it was I, Senor Americano, 
who do that fine work I, Manuel Pesta ! 

"Then they carry us away, blindfold 
again, to the border of Uruguay. We do 
not know this house we cannot find it 
again ever. So they think. But to make 
sure they hire men to assassinate us to 
stab us to the heart in those Uruguay 
Mountain. Fine pay for our work eh, 
senor? But, pestej Careno and I we 
stab our assassins we escape we swear 
vengeance! For two year we wander in 
Brazil seeking, ever seeking for the house 
with the vault. 


A Narrow Escape 

" How clever they are ! But we, are we 
not also clever? On a railway train one 
day we see a lady with the ring! We can- 
not mistake I made it, and I know my 
work. It is key to the big vault! Careno 
cannot wait. He sit beside lady and put 
his knife in her heart. The train rattle 
along and the lady make no noise. But the 
ring sticks, so Careno cuts off finger and 
puts in pocket. Are we not clever, serior? 
Now we have ring, but yet know not of the 
house with the vault. We keep quiet and 
ride on to Rio. There the dead lady is 
carried out and all is excitement. She is 
Senora Izabel de Mar, daughter of Dom 
Miguel de Pintra. She come from her 
father's house at Cuyaba. This we hear 
and remember. Then a man they call 
Valcour he rush up and cry, 'Her finger 
is gone! The ring where is the ring?' 
Aha ! we know now we are right. 

"So we go away and find out about 
Miguel de Pintra the head of great 
rebellion with millions of gold and notes to 
pay the soldiers when they fight. Good! 
We know now of the vault. We know we 

The Fate of a Crown 

have key. We know we are now rich! 
Careno and I we go to Cuyaba we find 
this house we hide in the bushes till 
night. Then Careno get mad for the 
money he want it all, not half -- and he 
try to murder me. Ah, well! my pistol 
is quicker than his knife, that is all. He 
is wearing ring, and it stick like it stick on 
lady's hand. Bah ! I cut off Careno's hand 
and carve away the ring. It is simple, is 
it not? 

"But now the soldiers gallop up. The 
house is fill with people. So I must wait. 
I hide in secret place, but soon they 
drag me out and make me prisoner. What ! 
must I lose all now millions millions 
of gold and no Careno to share it? No! 
I am still clever. I keep ring in mouth 
until I meet you, and I give it to you to 
keep. When they search me, there is no 

He sprang up, chuckling and rubbing 
his hands together in great delight. He 
danced a step or two and then drew the 
steel fork from his breast and struck it 
fiercely into the table-top, standing silently 

A Narrow Escape 

to watch it while the prongs quivered and 
came to rest. 

"Am I not clever?" he again asked, 
drawing out the fork from the wood and 
returning it to his breast. But I am 
generous, too. You shall divide with me. 
But not half! I won all from Careno, but 
you shall have some enough to be rich, 
sefior Americano. And now, give me the 

By this time his eyes were glittering with 
insanity, and at his abrupt demand I 
shifted uneasily in my seat, not knowing 
how to reply. 

"Give me the ring!" he repeated, a tone 
of menace creeping into his high-pitched 

I arose and walked toward the window, 
getting the table between us. Then I 
turned and faced him. 

"They have taken the ring from me." 
I said. 

He stood as if turned to stone, his fierce 
eyes fixed upon my own. 

"They have opened the vault with it," 
I continued, " and found it bare and empty." 


The Fate of a Crown 

He gave a shrill scream at this, and 
began trembling in every limb. 

"You lie!" he shouted, wildly. "You 
try to cheat me to get all ! And the vault 
has millions millions in gold and notes. 
Give me the ring!" 

I made no reply. To reiterate my 
assertion would do no good, and the man 
was incompetent to consider the matter 
calmly. Indeed, he once more drew that 
ugly fork from his breast and, grasping it 
as one would a dagger, began creeping 
toward me with a stealthy, cat-like tread. 

I approached the edge of the round 
center-table, alert to keep its breadth 
between me and my companion. The 
Mexican paused opposite me, and whis- 
pered between his clinched teeth: 

"Give it me! Give me the ring!" 

"The guard will be here presently," 
said I, fervently hoping I spoke the truth, 
"and he will tell you of the ring. I am 
quite sure Senhor Valcour has it." 

" Ah, I am betrayed ! You wish to take 
all you and this Valcour ! But see, my 
Americano I will kill you. I will kill 


A Narrow Escape 

you now, and then you have nothing for 
your treachery!" 

Slowly he edged his way around the 
table, menacing me with his strange weapon, 
and with my eyes fixed upon his I moved 
in the opposite direction, retaining the table 
as my shield. 

First in one direction and then in the 
other he moved, swiftly at times, then with 
deliberate caution, striving ever to take me 
unawares and reach me with his impro- 
vised dagger. 

This situation could not stand the ten- 
sion for long ; I realized that sooner or later 
the game must have an abrupt ending. 

So, as I dodged my persistent enemy, I 
set my wits working to devise a means of 
escape. The window seemed my only hope, 
and I had lost all fear of the sentry in the 
more terrible danger that confronted me. 

Suddenly I exerted my strength and 
thrust the table against the Mexican so 
forcibly that he staggered backward. Then 
I caught up a chair and after a swing around 
my head hurled it toward him like a cata- 
pult. It crushed him to the floor, and e'er 

The Fate of a Crown 

he could rise again I had thrown up the 
sash of the window and leaped out. 

Fortune often favors the desperate. I 
alighted full upon the form of the unsus- 
pecting sentry, bearing him to the ground by 
my weight, where we both rolled in the grass. 

Quickly I regained my feet and darted 
away into the flower-garden, seeking to 
reach the hedges before my guard could 
recover himself. 

Over my shoulder I saw him kneeling 
and deliberately pointing at me his carbine. 
Before he could fire the flying form of the 
Mexican descended upon him from the 
window. There was a flash and a report, 
but the ball went wide its mark, and 
instantly the two men were struggling in a 
death-grapple upon the lawn. 

Away I ran through the maze of hedge 
and shrubbery, threading the well-known 
paths unerringly. I heard excited shouts 
as the guardsmen, aroused by their com- 
rade's shot, poured from the mansion and 
plunged into the gardens to follow me. 
But it was dusk by this time, and I had 
little fear of being overtaken. 

A Narrow Escape 

The estate was bounded upon this side 
by an impenetrable thick-set hedge, but it 
was broken in one place by a gardeners' 
tool-house, which had a door at each side, 
and thus admitted one into a lane that 
wound through a grove and joined the 
main highway a mile beyond. 

Reaching this tool-house I dashed within, 
closed and barred the door behind me, and 
then emerged upon the lane. 

To my surprise I saw a covered carriage 
standing in the gloom, and made out that 
the door stood open and a man upon the 
box was holding the reins and leaning 
toward me eagerly as if striving to solve my 

Without hesitation I sprang into the car- 
riage and closed the door, crying to the man : 

"Quick! for your life drive on!" 

Without a word he lashed his horses and 
we started with a jerk that threw me into the 
back seat. 

I heard an exclamation in a woman's 

startled voice and felt a muffled form 

shrinking into the corner of the carriage. 

Then two shots rang out; I heard a scream 


The Fate of a Crown 

and the sound of a fall as the driver pitched 
upon the ground, and now like the wind 
the maddened horses rushed on without 
guidance, swaying the carriage from side 
to side with a dangerous motion. 

These Brazilian carriages have a trap 
in the top to permit the occupants to 
speak to the driver. I found this trap, 
threw it upward, and drew myself up until 
I was able to scramble into the vacant seat. 
The reins had fallen between the horses, 
evidently, but we were now dashing through 
the grove, and the shadows were so deep 
that I could distinguish nothing distinctly. 

Cautiously I let myself down until my 
feet touched the pole, and then, resting my 
hands upon the loins of the madly galloping 
animals, I succeeded in grasping the reins 
and returned safely to the box seat. 

Then I braced myself to conquer the 
runaways, and when we emerged from the 
grove and came upon the highway there 
was sufficient light for me to keep the 
horses in the straight road until they had 
tired themselves sufficiently to be brought 
under control. 


A Narrow Escape 

During this time I had turned to speak 
a reassuring word, now and then, to the 
unknown woman in the carriage. 

Doubtless she had been both amazed 
and indignant at my abrupt seizure of her 
equipage; but there was not yet time to 
explain to her my necessity. 

We were headed straight for the station 
at Cuyaba, and I decided at once to send 
a telegram warning Mazanovitch of danger. 
For Paola had turned traitor, the vault 
had been opened, and the Emperor was 
even now on his way to Rio to arrest all 
who had previously escaped the net of the 
Minister of Police. 

So we presently dashed up to the station, 
which was nearly deserted at this hour, and 
after calling a porter to hold the horses 
I went into the station to write my tele- 

Mazanovitch had asked me to use but 
one word, and although I had much of 
interest to communicate, a moment's thought 
assured me that a warning of danger was 

So, after a brief hesitation, I wrote the 

The Fate of a Crown 

word "Lesba," and handed the message 
to the operator. 

"That is my name, senhor," said a 
soft voice behind me, and I turned to con- 
front Lesba Paola. 




Astonishment rendered me speechless, 
and at first I could do no more than bow 
with an embarrassed air to the cloaked 
figure before me. Lesba's fair face, peering 
from beneath her mantilla, was grave but 
set, and her brilliant eyes bore a questioning 
and half -contemptuous look that was hard 
to meet. 

"That is my name, senhor," she re- 
peated, " and you will oblige me by explain- 
ing why you are sending it to Captain 

"Was it your carriage in which I es- 
caped?" I inquired. 

"Yes; and my man now lies wounded 
by the roadside. Why did you take me 
by surprise, Senhor Harcliffe? And why 
why are you telegraphing my name to 

Although my thoughts were somewhat 

The Fate of a Crown 

confused I remembered that Lesba had 
accompanied her brother to Rio; that her 
brother had turned traitor, and she herself 
had ridden in the Emperor's carriage, with 
the spy Valcour. And I wondered how it 
was that her carriage should have been 
standing this very evening at a retired spot, 
evidently awaiting some one, when I chanced 
upon it in my extremity. 

It is well to take time to consider, when 
events are of a confusing nature. In that 
way thoughts are sometimes untangled. 
Now, in a flash, the truth came to me. 
Valcour was still at the mansion Valcour, 
her accomplice; perhaps her lover. 

To realize this evident fact of her 
intrigue with my brilliant foe sent a shiver 
through me a shiver of despair and utter 
weariness. Still keeping my gaze upon the 
floor, and noting, half-consciously, the click- 
click of the telegraph instrument, I said: 

"Pardon me, donzella, for using your 
carriage to effect my escape. You see, 
I have not made an alliance with the royal- 
ists, as yet, and my condition is somewhat 
dangerous. As for the use of your name 

The Wayside Inn 

in my telegram, I have no objection to 
telling you now that the message has 
been sent that it was a cypher word warn- 
ing my republican friends of treachery." 

" Do you suspect me of treachery, Senhor 
Harcliffe?" she asked in cold, scornful tones. 

I looked up, but dropped my eyes again 
as I confronted the blaze of indignation 
that flashed from her own. 

" I make no accusations, donzella. What 
is it to me if you Brazilians fight among 
yourselves for freedom or the Emperor, as 
it may suit your fancy? I came here to 
oblige a friend of my father's the one 
true man I have found in all your intrigue- 
ridden country. But he, alas ! is dead, and 
I am powerless to assist farther the cause 
he loved. So my mission here is ended, 
and I will go back to America." 

Again I looked up; but this time her 
eyes were lowered and her expression was 
set and impenetrable. 

" Do not let us part in anger," I resumed, 

a tremor creeping into my voice in spite 

of me for this girl had been very dear 

to my heart. "Let us say we have both 


The Fate of a Crown 

acted according to the dictates of conscience, 
and cherish only memories of the happy 
days we have passed together, to comfort 
us in future years." 

She started, with upraised hand and 
eager face half turned toward the door. Far 
away in the distance I heard the tramp of 
many hoofs. 

"They are coming, senhor!" called the 
man who stood beside the horses one of 
our patriots. " It's the troop of Uruguayans, 
I am sure." 

Pedro, the station-master, ran from his 
little office and extinguished the one dim 
lamp that swung from the ceiling of the 
room in which we stood. 

In the darkness that enveloped us Lesba 
grasped my arm and whispered "Come!" 
dragging me toward the door. A moment 
later we were beside the carriage. 

"Mount!" she cried, in a commanding 
voice. "I will ride inside. Take the road 
to San Tarem. Quick, senhor, as you 
value both our lives !" 

I gathered up the reins as Pedro slammed 
tight the carriage door. A crack of the 

The Wayside Inn 

whip, a shout of encouragement from the 
two patriots, and we had dashed away upon 
the dim road leading to the wild, unsettled 
plains of the North Plateau. 

They were good horses. It surprised 
me to note their mettle and speed, and I 
guessed they had been carefully chosen 
for the night's work an adventure of 
which this denouement was scarcely ex- 
pected. I could see the road but dimly, 
but I gave the horses slack rein and they 
sped along at no uncertain pace. 

I could no longer hear the hoof-beats 
of the guards, and judged that either we 
had outdistanced them or the shrewd 
Pedro had sent them on a false scent. 

Presently the sky brightened, and as 
the moon shone clear above us I found that 
we were passing through a rough country 
that was but sparsely settled. I remembered 
to have ridden once in this direction with 
Lesba, but not so far; and the surround- 
ings were therefore strange to me. 

For an hour I drove steadily on, and 
then the girl spoke to me through the open 
trap in the roof of the carriage. 

The Fate of a Crown 

"A mile or so further will bring us to a 
fork in the road. Keep to the right," said she. 

I returned no answer, although I was 
burning to question her of many things. But 
time enough for that, I thought, when we 
were safely at our journey's end. Indeed, 
Lesba's mysterious actions her quick re- 
turn from Rio in the wake of the Emperor 
and Valcour, her secret rendezvous in the 
lane, which I had so suddenly surprised 
and interrupted, and her evident desire to 
save me from arrest all this was not only 
contradictory to the frank nature of the 
girl, but to the suspicions I had formed of 
her betrayal of the conspiracy in co-operation 
with her treacherous brother. 

The key to the mystery was not mine, 
and I could only wait until Lesba chose 
to speak and explain her actions. 

I came to the fork in the road and 
turned to the right. The trail for it had 
become little more than that now skirted 
a heavy growth of underbrush that merged 
into groves of scattered, stunted trees; and 
these in time gradually became more com- 
pact and stalwart until a great Brazilian 


The Wayside Inn 

forest threw its black shadow over us. 
Noiselessly the carriage rolled over the 
beds of moss, which were so thick now that 
I could scarcely hear a sound of the horses' 
hoofs, and then I discerned a short distance 
ahead the outlines of an old, weather- 
beaten house. 

Lesba had her head through the trap and 
spoke close to my ear. 

"Stop at this place," said she; "for here 
our journey ends." 

I pulled up the horses opposite the 
dwelling and regarded it somewhat doubt- 
fully. It had been built a hundred yards 
or so from the edge of the dense forest and 
seemed utterly deserted. It was a large 
house, with walls of baked clay and a 
thatched roof, and its neglected appearance 
and dreary surroundings gave it a fearsome 
look as it stood lifeless and weatherstained 
under the rays of the moon. 

"Is the place inhabited?" I asked. 

"It must be," she replied. "Go to the 
door, and knock upon it loudly." 

"But the horses who will mind them, 


The Fate of a Crown 

Instantly she scrambled through the 
trap to the seat beside me and took the 
reins in her small hands. 

"I will look after the horses," said she. 

So I climbed down and approached the 
door. It was sheltered by a rude porch, 
and flanked upon either side by well-worn 
benches such as are frequent at wayside 

I pounded upon the door and then 
paused to listen. The sounds drew a hollow 
reverberation from within, but aroused no 
other reply. 

"Knock again!" called Lesba. 

I obeyed, but with no better success. 
The place seemed uncanny, and I returned 
abruptly to the carriage, standing beside 
the wheel and gazing up through the 
moonlight into the beautiful face the girl 
bent over me. 

"Lesba," said I, pleadingly, "what does 
all this mean? Why have you brought me 
to this strange place?" 

"To save your life," she answered in a 
grave voice. 

"But how came you to be waiting in the 

The Wayside Inn 

lane? And who were you waiting for?" 
I persisted. 

"By what right do you question me, 
Senhor Harcliffe?" she asked, drawing 
back so that I could no longer look into her 

"By no right at all, Lesba. Neither do 
I care especially whether you are attached 
to the Empire or the Republic, or how 
much you indulge in political intrigue, 
since that appears to be the chief amuse- 
ment of your countrymen. But I love you. 
You know it well, although you have never 
permitted me tell you so. And loving you 
as I do, with all my heart, I am anxious to 
untangle this bewildering maze and under- 
stand something of your actions since that 
terrible morning when I parted with you 
at Dom Miguel's mansion." 

She laughed, and the laugh was one of 
those quaint flashes of merriment peculiar 
to the girl, leaving one in doubt whether to 
attribute it to amusement or nervous agita- 
tion. Indeed, where another woman might 
weep Lesba would laugh; so that it fre- 
quently puzzled me to comprehend her. 

The Fate of a Crown 

Now, however, she surprised me by leaning 
over me and saying gently : 

"I will answer your question, Robert. 
My brother is at the mansion, and in danger 
of his life. I was waiting with the carriage 
to assist him to escape." 

"But how do you know he is in danger?" 

"He sent me word by a carrier-pigeon." 

"To be sure. Yet there is one more 
thing that troubles me: why were you in 
Rio, riding in the Emperor's carriage with 
the spy Valcour?" 

"It is simple, senhor. I went to Rio to 
assist in persuading Dom Pedro to visit 
the vault." 

"Knowing it was empty?" 

"Knowing it was empty, and believing 
that the Emperor's absence would enable 
Fonseca to strike a blow for freedom." 

"Then Fonseca is still faithful to the 

"I know of no traitor in our ranks, 
Robert, although it seems you have sus- 
pected nearly all of us, at times. But it 
grows late and my brother is still in peril. 
Will you again rap upon the door?" 

The Wayside Inn 

"It is useless, Lesba." 

"Try the back door; they may hear you 
from there," she suggested. 

'So I made my way, stumbling over 
tangled vines and protruding roots, to the 
rear of the house, where the shadows lay 
even thicker than in front. I found the 
door, and hammered upon it with all my 
strength. The noise might have raised 
the dead, but as I listened intently there 
came not the least footfall to reward me. 
For a time I hesitated what to do. From 
the grim forest behind me I heard a half- 
audible snarl and the bark of a wolf; in 
the house an impressive silence reigned 

I drew back, convinced that the place 
was uninhabited, and returned around the 
corner of the house. 

"There is no one here, donzella," I 
began, but stopped short in amazement. 

The carriage was gone. 




I sprang to the road and peered eagerly 
in every direction. Far away in the dis- 
tance could be discerned the dim outlines of 
the carriage, flying along the way from 
whence we had come. 

Lesba had brought me to this place 
only to desert me, and it was not difficult 
to realize that she had sent me to the rear 
of the house to get me out of the way while 
she wheeled the carriage around and dashed 
away unheard over the soft moss. 

Well, I had ceased to speculate upon 
the girl's erratic actions. Only one thing 
seemed clear to me; that she had returned 
to rescue her brother from the danger which 
threatened him. Why she had assisted me 
to escape the soldiery only to leave me in 
this wilderness could be accounted for but 
by the suggestion that her heart softened 
toward one whom she knew had learned 


' ' Arise and Strike ! ' '' 

to love her during those bright days we had 
passed in each other's society. But that 
she loved me in return I dared not even 
hope. Her answer to my declaration had 
been a laugh, and to me this girl's heart 
was as a sealed book. Moreover, it oc- 
curred to me that Valcour also loved her, 
and into his eyes I had seen her gaze as she 
never had gazed into mine during our most 
friendly intercourse. 

The carriage had vanished long since, 
and the night air was chill. I returned to 
the porch of the deserted house, and curling 
myself up on one of the benches soon sank 
into a profound slumber, for the events of 
the day had well-nigh exhausted rne. 

When I awoke a rough-looking, bearded 
man was bending over me. He wore a 
peasant's dress and carried a gun on his 
left arm. 

"Who are you, senhor, " he demanded, 
as my eyes unclosed, "and how came you 
here ?" 

I arose and stretched myself, considering 
who he might be. 

"Why do you ask?" said I. 

The Fate of a Crown 

"There is war in the land, senhor," he 
responded, quietly, "and every man must 
be a friend or a foe to the Republic." He 
doffed his hat with rude devotion at the 
word, and added, "Declare yourself, my 

I stared at him thoughtfully. War in 
the land, said he! Then the "torch of 
rebellion" had really been fired. But by 
whom? Could it have been Paola, as 
Valcour had claimed? And why? Since 
the conspiracy had been unmasked and its 
leaders, with the exception of Fonseca, 
either scattered or imprisoned? Did the 
Minister of Police aim to destroy every one 
connected with the Cause by precipitating 
an impotent revolt? Or was there a master- 
hand directing these seemingly incompre- 
hensible events? 

The man was growing suspicious of my 

"Come!" said he, abruptly; "you shall 
go to Senhor B astro." 

"And where is that?" I asked, with 
interest, for Paola had reported that Bastro 
had fled the country. 


v< Arise and Strike!' 1 

My captor did not deign to reply. With 
the muzzle of his gun unpleasantly close to 
my back he marched me toward the edge 
of the forest, which we skirted for a time 
in silence. Then the path turned suddenly 
into a dense thicket, winding between close- 
set trees until, deep within the wood, we 
came upon a natural clearing of considerable 

In the center of this space was a large, 
low building constructed of logs and roofed 
with branches of trees, and surrounding the 
entire structure were grouped native Brazil- 
ians, armed with rifles, revolvers, and knives. 

These men were not uniformed, and their 
appearance was anything but military; 
nevertheless there was a look upon their 
stern faces that warned me they were in 
deadly earnest and not to be trifled with. 

As my intercourse with the republicans 
had been confined entirely to a few of their 
leaders, I found no familiar face among 
these people ; so I remained impassive while 
my captor pushed me past the guards to a 
small doorway placed near a protecting 
angle of the building. 


The Fate of a Crown 

"Enter!" said he. 

I obeyed, and the next moment stood 
before a group of men who were evidently 
the officers or leaders of the little band of 
armed patriots I had seen without. 

"Ah!" said one, in a deep bass voice, 
"it is Senhor Harcliffe, the secretary to 
Dom Miguel." 

I have before mentioned the fact that 
whenever the conspirators had visited de 
Pintra they remained securely masked, so 
that their features were, with a few excep- 
tions, unknown to me. But the voices were 
familiar enough, and the man who had 
brought me here had mentioned Sanchez 
Bastro's name; so I had little difficulty in 
guessing the identity of the personage who 
now addressed me. 

"Why are you here, senhor?" he in- 
quired, with evident anxiety; "and do 
you bring us news of the uprising?" 

"I know nothing of the uprising except 
that your man here," and I turned to my 
guide, "tells me there is war in the land, 
and that the Revolution is proclaimed." 

* Yes," returned Bastro, with a grave nod. 

"Arise and Strike!'' 

"Then," I continued, "I advise you to 
lay down you arms at once and return to 
your homes before you encounter arrest 
and imprisonment." 

The leaders cast upon one another uneasy 
looks, and Bastro drew a small paper from 
his breast and handed it to me. I recog- 
nized it as one of the leaves from his note- 
book which Paola had attached to the 
carrier-pigeon, and upon it were scrawled 
these words, "Arise and strike!" 

It was the signal long since agreed upon 
to start the Revolution. 

With a laugh I handed back the paper. 

"It is from Francisco Paola, the traitor," 
I said. 

"Traitor!" they echoed, in an astonished 

"Listen, gentlemen; it is evident you 
are ignorant of the events of the last two 
days." And in as few words as possible I 
related the occurrences at de Pintra's 
mansion, laying stress upon the arrest of 
Piexoto, the perfidy of the Minister of 
Police, and the death of Treverot. 

They were not so deeply impressed as I 

The Fate of a Crown 

had expected. The discovery of the empty 
vault had aroused no interest whatever, and 
they listened quietly and without comment 
to my story of Paola's betrayal of his fellow- 
conspirators to the Emperor. 

But when I mentioned Treverot's death 
B astro chose to smile, and indicating a tall 
gentleman standing at his left, he said: 

"Permit me to introduce to you Senhor 
Treverot. He will tell you that he still 

"Then Paola lied?" I exclaimed, some- 
what chagrined. 

Bastro shrugged his shoulders. 

"We have confidence in the Minister 
of Police," said he, calmly. "There is no 
doubt but General Fonseca, at Rio, has 
before now gained control of the capital, 
and that the Revolution is successfully 
established. We shall know everything very 
soon, for my men have gone to the nearest 
telegraph station for news. Meantime, to 
guard against any emergency, our patriots 
are being armed in readiness for combat, 
and, in Matto Grosso at least, the royalists 
are powerless to oppose us." 

' ' Arise and Strike I" 

" But the funds the records ! What 
will happen if the Emperor seizes them?" 
I asked. 

"The Emperor will not seize them," 
returned B astro, unmoved. "The con- 
tents of the vault are in safe-keeping." 

Before I could question him further a 
man sprang through the doorway. 

"The wires from Rio are cut in every 
direction," said he, in an agitated voice. 
"A band of the Uruguayan guards, under 
de Souza and Valcour, is galloping over 
the country to arrest every patriot they can 
find, and our people are hiding themselves 
in terror." 

Consternation spread over the features 
of the little band which a moment before 
had deemed itself so secure and powerful. 
B astro turned to pace the earthen floor 
with anxious strides, while the others 
watched him silently. 

"What of Francisco Paola?" suddenly 
asked the leader. 

"Why, senhor, he seems to have disap- 
peared," replied the scout, with hesitation. 

" Disappeared ! And why ? " 

The Fate of a Crown 

"Perhaps I can answer that question, 
Senhor B astro," said a voice behind us, 
and turning my head I saw my friend 
Pedro, the station-master at Cuyaba, stand- 
ing within the doorway. 

"Enter, Pedro," commanded the leader. 
"What news do you bring, and why have 
you abandoned your post?" 

"The wires are down," said the station- 
master, "and no train is allowed to leave 
Rio since the Emperor reached there at 

"Then you know nothing of what has 
transpired at the capital?" asked B astro. 

"Nothing, senhor. It was yesterday 
morning when the Emperor's party met the 
train at Cuyaba, and I ^handed him a tele- 
gram from de Lima, the Minister of State. 
It read in this way : * General Fonseca and 
his army have revolted and seized the 
palace, the citadel, and all public buildings. 
I have called upon every loyal Brazilian to 
rally to the support of the Empire. Return 
at once. Arrest the traitors Francisco Paola 
and his sister. Situation critical." 

"Ah!" cried Bastro, drawing a deep 

"Arise and Strike!" 

breath, "and what said the Emperor to 
that message?" 

"He spoke with his counselors, and 
wired this brief reply to de Lima, *I am 
coming.' Also he sent a soldier back to 
de Pintra's mansion with orders to arrest 
Francisco and Lesba Paola. Then he 
boarded the train and instructed the con- 
ductor to proceed to Rio with all possible 
haste. And that is all I know, senhor, 
save that I called up Rio last evening and 
learned that Fonseca was still in control of 
the city. At midnight the wires were cut 
and nothing further can be learned. There- 
fore I came to join you, and if there is a 
chance to fight for the Cause I beg that 
you will accept my services." 

B astro paused in his walk to press the 
honest fellow's hand; then he resumed his 
thoughtful pacing. 

The others whispered among themselves, 
and one said: 

"Why need we despair, Sanchez Bastro? 
Will not Fonseca, once in control, succeed 
in holding the city?" 

"Surely!" exclaimed the leader. "It 

The Fate of a Crown 

is not for him that I fear, but for ourselves. 
If the Uruguayans are on our trail we must 
disperse our men and scatter over the 
country, for the spy Valcour knows, I am 
sure, of this rendezvous." 

"But they are not hunting you, senhor," 
protested Pedro, "but rather Paola and his 
sister, who have managed to escape from 
de Pintra's house." 

"Nevertheless, the Uruguayans are liable 
to be here at any moment," returned 
B astro, "and there is nothing to be gained 
by facing that devil, de Souza." 

He then called his men together in the 
clearing, explained to them the situation, 
and ordered them to scatter and to secrete 
themselves in the edges of the forests and 
pick off the Uruguayans with their rifles 
whenever occasion offered. 

"If anything of importance transpires," 
he added, "report to me at once at my 

Without a word of protest his commands 
were obeyed. The leaders mounted their 
horses and rode away through the numerous 
forest paths that led into the clearing. 

" Arise and Strike!'' 

The men also saluted and disappeared 
among the trees, and presently only Bastro, 
Pedro, and myself stood in the open space. 
"Come with me, Senhor Harcliffe," said 
the leader; "I shall be glad to have you 
join me at breakfast. You may follow us, 

Then he strode to the edge of the clear- 
ing, pressed aside some bushes, and stepped 
into a secret path that led through the 
densest portion of the tangled forest. I 
followed, and Pedro brought up the rear. 

For some twenty minutes Bastro guided 
us along the path, which might well have 
been impassable to a novice, until finally 
we emerged from the forest to find the open 
country before us, and a small, cozy-look- 
ing dwelling facing us from the opposite 
side of a well-defined roadway. 

Bastro led us to a side door, which he 
threw open, and then stepped back with a 
courteous gesture. 

"Enter, gentlemen," said he; "you are 
welcome to my humble home." 

I crossed the threshold and came to an 
abrupt stop. Something seemed to clutch 

The Fate of a Crown 

my heart with a grip of iron; my limbs 
trembled involuntarily, and my eyes grew 
set and staring. 

For, standing before me, with composed 
look and a smile upon his dark face, was 
the living form of my lamented friend 
Miguel de Pintra ! 




"Compose yourself, my dear Robert," 
said Dom Miguel, pressing my hands in 
both his own. " It is no ghost you see, for 
thanks be to God ! I am still alive." 

I had no words to answer him. In all 
my speculations as to the result of Madam 
Izabel's terrible deed, the fate of the records 
and the mysterious opening of the vault 
without its key, I never had conceived the 
idea that Dom Miguel might have escaped 
his doom. And to find him here, not only 
alive, but apparently in good health and 
still busy with the affairs of the Revolution, 
conveyed so vivid a shock to my nerves that 
I could but dumbly stare into my old friend's 
kind eyes and try to imagine that I beheld 
a reality and not the vision of a disordered 

B astro assisted me by laughing loudly and 
giving me a hearty slap across the shoulders. 

The Fate of a Crown 

"Wake up, Senhor Harcliffe!" said he; 
"and hereafter have more faith in Prov- 
idence and the luck that follows in the 
wake of true patriotism. We could ill 
afford to lose our chief at this juncture." 

"But how did it happen?" I gasped, 
still filled with wonder. "What earthly 
power could have opened that awful vault 
when its key was miles and miles away?" 

"The earthly power was wielded by a 
very ordinary little woman," said Dom 
Miguel, with his old gentle smile. "When 
you rode away from the house on that ter- 
rible morning Lesba came and unlocked my 
prison, setting me free." 

"But how?" I demanded, still blindly 
groping for the truth. 

"By means of a duplicate key that she 
had constantly carried in her bosom." 

I drew a long breath. 

"Did you know of this key, sir?" I 
asked, after a pause, which my companions 
courteously forbore to interrupt. 

"I did not even suspect its existence," 
replied Dom Miguel. "But it seems that 
Francisco Paola, with his usual thought- 

One Mystery Solved 

fulness, took an impression in wax of my 
ring, without my knowledge, and had an 
exact duplicate prepared. I think he fore- 
saw that an emergency might arise when 
another key might be required; but it 
would not do to let any one know of his 
action, for the mere knowledge that such a 
duplicate existed would render us all sus- 
picious and uneasy. So he kept the matter 
secret even from me, and gave the ring into 
the keeping of his sister, who was his only 
confidante, and whom he had requested me 
to accept as an inmate of my household, 
under the plea that I am her legal guardian. 
This was done in order to have her always 
at hand in case the interests of the con- 
spiracy demanded immediate use of the 
duplicate key. That Francisco trusted her 
more fully than he has any other living 
person is obvious; and that she was worthy 
of such trust the girl has fully proved." 

"Then you were released at once?'* I 
asked; "and you suffered little from your 

"My anguish was more mental than of 
a bodily nature," Dom Miguel answered, 

The Fate of a Crown 

sadly; "but I was free to meet Paola when 
he arrived at my house, and to assist him 
and Lesba in removing the contents of the 
vault to a safer place." 

"But why, knowing that his sister held 
a duplicate key, did the Minister send me 
in chase of the ring Madam Izabel had 
stolen?" I demanded. 

"Because it was necessary to keep 
the matter from the Emperor until the 
records had been removed," explained de 
Pintra. "Indeed, Francisco was on his 
way to us that morning to insist upon our 
abandoning the vault, after having given 
us warning, as you will remember, the night 
before, that the clever hiding-place of our 
treasure and papers was no longer a secret." 

"I remember that he himself revealed 
the secret to the Emperor," I remarked, 

"And acted wisely in doing so, I have 
no doubt," retorted Bastro, who still stood 
beside us. "But come, gentlemen, break- 
fast must be ready, and I have a vigorous 
appetite. Be good enough to join me." 

He led the way to an inner room, and 

One Mystery Solved 

de Pintra and I followed, his arm in 

It seemed to me, now that I regarded 
him more attentively, that my old friend 
was less erect than formerly, that there were 
new and deep furrows upon his gentle face, 
and that his eyes had grown dim and 
sunken. But that the old, dauntless spirit 
remained I never doubted. 

As we entered the breakfast-room I saw 
a form standing at the window the form 
of a little man clothed neatly in black. He 
turned to greet us with pale, expressionless 
features and drooping eyelids. 

It was Captain Mazanovitch. 

"Good morning, Senhor Harcliffe," he 
said, in his soft voice; and I wondered how 
he had recognized me without seeming to 
open his eyes. "And what news does our 
noble Captain Bastro bring of the Revolu- 
tion?" he continued, with a slight note of 
interest in his voice that betrayed his 

While we breakfasted Bastro related the 
events of the morning, and told how the 
news he had received of the activity of the 

The Fate of a Crown 

Uruguayan guards, in connection with the 
impossibility of learning from Rio what 
Fonseca had accomplished, had induced 
him to disband his men. 

" But can you again assemble them, if you 
should wish to?" inquired Dom Miguel. 

"Easily," answered our host; but he 
did not explain how. 

While he and Dom Miguel discussed the 
fortunes of the Revolution I made bold to 
ask Captain Mazanovitch how he came to 
be in this isolated spot. 

" I was warned by the Minister of Police 
to leave Rio," answered the detective; "for 
it appears my my friend Valcour would 
have been suspicious had not Paola prom- 
ised to arrest me with the others. I have 
been here since yesterday." 

'Your friend Valcour is a most per- 
sistent foe to the Cause," said I, thought- 
fully. "It would have pleased you to 
watch him struggle with Paola for the 
mastery, while the Emperor was by. Ah, 
how Paola and Valcour hate each other!" 

Mazanovitch turned his passionless face 
toward me, and it seemed as though a faint 

One Mystery Solved 

smile flickered for an instant around his 
mouth. But he made no answer. 

After breakfast Pedro was sent back to 
Cuyaba for news, being instructed to await 
there the repairing of the telegraph wires, 
and to communicate with us as soon as he 
had word from Rio. 

The man had no sooner disappeared in 
the forest than, as we stood in the roadway 
looking after him, a far-off patter of horses' 
feet was distinctly heard approaching from 
the north. 

Silently we stood, gazing toward the 
curve in the road while the hoof -beats grew 
louder and louder, till suddenly two horses 
swept around the edge of the forest and bore 
down upon us. 

Then to the surprise of all we recognized 
the riders to be Francisco Paola and his 
sister Lesba, and they rode the same horses 
which the evening before had been attached 
to the carriage that had brought me from 
de Pintra's. 

As they dashed up both brother and 
sister sprang from the panting animals, and 
the former said, hurriedly: 

The Fate of a Crown 

" Quick, comrades ! Into the house and 
barricade the doors. The Uruguayans are 
upon us!" 

True enough; now that their own horses 
had come to a halt we plainly heard the 
galloping of the troop of pursuers. With 
a single impulse we ran to the house and 
entered, when my first task was to assist 
Bastro in placing the shutters over the 
windows and securing them with stout 

The doors were likewise fastened and 
barred, and then Mazanovitch brought us 
an armful of rifles and an ample supply of 

"Do you think it wise to resist?" asked 
de Pintra, filling with cartridges the mag- 
azine of a rifle. 

A blow upon the door prevented an 

"Open, in the name of the Emperor!" 
cried an imperious voice. 

"That is my gallant friend Captain de 
Souza," said Lesba, with a little laugh. 

I looked at the strange girl curiously. 
She had seated herself upon a large chest, 

One Mystery Solved 

and with her hands clasped about one knee 
was watching us load our weapons with as 
much calmness as if no crisis of our fate 
was impending. 

"Be kind to him, Lesba," remarked 
Paola, tucking a revolver underneath his 
arm while he rolled and lighted a cigarette. 
"Think of his grief at being separated from 

She laughed again, with real enjoyment, 
and shook the tangled locks of hair from 
her eyes. 

"Perhaps if I accept his attentions he 
will marry me, and I shall escape," she 
rejoined, lightly. 

"Open, I command you!" came the 
voice from without. 

"Really," said Lesba, looking upon us 
brightly, "it was too funny for anything. 
Twice this morning the brave captain nearly 
succeeded in capturing me. He might 
have shot me with ease, but called out that 
he could not bear to injure the woman he 

"Does he indeed love you, Lesba?" 
asked de Pintra, gently. 

The Fate of a Crown 

" So he says, Uncle. But it must have 
been a sudden inspiration, for I never saw 
him until yesterday." 

"Nevertheless, I am glad to learn of 
this," resumed Dom Miguel; "for there 
is no disguising the fact that they out- 
number us and are better armed, and it is 
good to know that whatever happens to us, 
you will be protected." 

"Whatever happens to you will happen 
to me," declared the girl, springing to her 
feet. "Give me a gun, Uncle!" 

Now came another summons from de 

"Listen!" he called; "the house is 
surrounded and you cannot escape us. 
Therefore it will be well for you to sur- 
render and rely upon the Emperor's mercy." 

"I fear we may not rely on that with any 
security," drawled Paola, who had ap- 
proached the door. " Pray tell us, my good 
de Souza, what are your orders respecting 

"To arrest you at all hazards," returned 
the captain, sternly. 

"And then?" persisted the Minister, 

One Mystery Solved 

leaning against the door and leisurely puffing 
his cigarette. 

But another voice was now heard 
Valcour's crying: 

"Open at once, or we will batter down 
the door." 

Before any could reply Mazanovitch 
pushed Paola aside and placed his lips to 
the keyhole. 

"Hear me, Valcour," he said, in a soft 
yet penetrating tone, "we are able to 
defend ourselves until assistance arrives. 
But rather than that blood should be shed 
without necessity, we will surrender our- 
selves if we have your assurance of safe 
convoy to Rio." 

For a moment there was silence. Then, 
"How came you here?" demanded the 
spy, in accents that betrayed his agitation. 

"That matters little," returned Mazano- 
vitch. " Have we your assurance of safety? ' 

We heard the voices of Valcour and de 
Souza in angry dispute; then the captain 
shouted: "Stand aside!" and there came a 
furious blow upon the door that shattered 
the panels. 


The Fate of a Crown 

Bastro raised his rifle and fired. A cry 
answered the shot, but instantly a second 
crash followed. The bars were torn from 
their sockets, the splintered door fell in- 
ward, and before we could recover from the 
surprise we were looking into the muzzles of 
a score of carbines leveled upon us. 

"Very well," said Paola, tossing the 
end of his cigarette through the open door- 
way. "We are prisoners of war. Peste! 
my dear Captain; how energetic your 
soldiers are! 

A moment later we were disarmed, and 
then, to our surprise, de Souza ordered our 
feet and our hands to be securely bound. 
Only Lesba escaped this indignity, for the 
captain confined her in a small room adjoin- 
ing our own and placed a guard at the door. 

During this time Valcour stood by, sullen 
and scowling, his hands clinched nervously 
and his lips curling with scorn. 

'You might gag us, my cautious one,'* 
said Paola, addressing the officer, who had 
planted himself, stern and silent, in the cen- 
ter of the room while his orders were being 


One Mystery Solved 

"So I will, Senhor Paola; but in another 
fashion," was the grim reply. 

He drew a paper from his breast and con- 
tinued, "I will read to you my orders from 
his Majesty, the Emperor Dom Pedro of 
Brazil, dispatched from the station at Cuy- 
aba as he was departing for his capital to 
quell the insurrection." 

He paused and slowly unfolded the paper, 
while every eye save that, perhaps, of 
Mazanovitch was fixed upon him with 
intent gaze. 

" 'You are instructed to promptly arrest 
the traitor Francisco Paola, together with 
his sister, Lesba Paola, and whatever revo- 
lutionists you may be able to take, and to 
execute them one and all without formal 
trial on the same day that they are captured, 
as enemies of the Empire and treasonable 
conspirators plotting the downfall of the 
Government.' ' 

The captain paused a moment, impres- 
sively, and refolded the document. 

"It is signed by his Majesty's own hand, 
and sealed with the royal seal," he said. 




I glanced around the room to note the 
effect of this startling announcement upon 
my fellow-prisoners. Bastro's scowling face 
was turned full upon the officer, but showed 
no sign of fear. De Pintra smiled rather 
scornfully and whispered a word to Mazan- 
ovitch, whose countenance remained im- 
passive as ever. Paola, with the perpetual 
simper distorting his naturally handsome 
features, leaned back in his chair and re- 
garded his trussed ankles with whimsical 
indifference. Indeed, if the captain thought 
to startle or terrify his captives he must have 
been grievously disappointed, for one and 
all received the announcement of the death 
sentence with admirable composure. 

It was Valcour who broke the silence. 
Confronting the captain with blazing eyes, 
while his slight form quivered with excite- 
ment, he cried: 


The Death Sentence 

"This is nonsense, de Souza! The Em- 
peror must have been mad to write such an 
order. You will convey your prisoners to 
Rio for trial." 

"I shall obey the Emperor's commands," 
answered the captain, gloomily. 

"But it is murder!" 

"It is the Emperor's will." 

"Hear me, Captain de Souza," said Val- 
cour, drawing himself up proudly; "you 
were instructed to obey my commands. I 
order you to convey the prisoners to Rio, 
that they may be tried in a court of 

The other shook his head. 

"The order is to me personally, and I 
must obey. A soldier never questions the 
commands of his superiors." / 

"But I am your superior!" 

" Not in this affair, Senhor Valcour. And 
the Emperor's order is doubtless to be 
obeyed above that of his spy." 

Valcour winced, and turned away to pace 
the floor nervously. 

"But the lady surely you will not exe- 
cute the Donzella Paola in this brutal fash- 

The Fate of a Crown 

ion!" he protested, after an interval of 

The captain flushed, and then grew pale. 

"I will speak with the lady," he said, 
and motioning aside the guard he entered 
the room where Lesba was confined, and 
closed the door after him. 

We could hear his voice through the thin 
partition, speaking in low and earnest tones. 
Then a burst of merry laughter from Lesba 
fell upon our ears with something of a shock, 
for the matter seemed serious enough to 
insure gravity. Evidently the captain pro- 
tested, but the girl's high-pitched tones and 
peals of merriment indicated that she was 
amusing herself at his expense, and suddenly 
the door burst open and de Souza stumbled 
out with a red and angry face. 

"The woman is a fiend!" he snarled. 
"Let her die with the others." 

Valcour, who had continued to pace the 
floor during this interview, had by now 
managed to get his nerves under control, for 
he smiled at the captain, and said : 

" Let us see if I have any argument that 
will avail." 


The Death Sentence 

While the officer stood irresolute, Val- 
cour bowed mockingly, opened the door, and 
passed into Lesba's room. 

It was de Souza's turn now to pace the 
floor, which he did with slow and measured 
strides; but although we strained our ears, 
not a sound of the interview that was pro- 
gressing reached us through the partition. 

After a considerable time it seemed that 
the captain regretted having allowed Val- 
cour this privilege, for he advanced to the 
door and placed his hand on the knob. In- 
stantly the spy appeared, closing the door 
swiftly behind him and turning the key in 
the lock. 

"I withdraw my opposition, Captain," 
said he. : 'You may execute the lady with 
the others, for all I care. When is the 
massacre to take place?" 

The officer stroked his moustache and 

"The order commands the execution on 
the same day the conspirators are arrested," 
he announced. " I do not like the job, Val- 
cour, believe me ; but the Emperor must be 
obeyed. Let them die at sunset." 

The Fate of a Crown 

He turned abruptly and left the house, 
but sent a detachment of the Uruguayans 
to remain in the room with us and guard 
against any attempt on our part to es- 

We indulged in little conversation. Each 
had sufficient to occupy his thoughts, and 
sunset was not very far away, after all. 
To me this ending of the bold conspiracy 
was not surprising, for I had often thought 
that when Dom Pedro chose to strike he 
would strike in a way that would deter all 
plotting against the government for some 
time to come. And life is of little value in 
these South American countries. 

"Where are the records?" I whispered 
to Dom Miguel, who sat near me. 

" Safe with Fonseca in Rio," he answered. 

"Do you imagine that Fonseca will suc- 
ceed?" I continued. 

"He is sure to," said the chief, a soft 
gleam lighting his eyes. " It is only we who 
have failed, my friend." He paused a mo- 
ment, and then resumed: "I am sorry I 
have brought you to this, Robert. For the 
rest of us it matters little that we die. Is not 

The Death Sentence 

a free Brazil a glorious prize to be won by 
the purchase of a few lives?" 

It was futile to answer. A free Brazil 
meant little to me, I reflected; but to die 
with Lesba was a bit comforting, after all. 
I must steel myself to meet death as bravely 
as this girl was sure to do. 

Paola, after sitting long silent, addressed 
Valcour, who, since the captain's exit, had 
been staring from the window that faced the 

"What did de Souza say to Lesba?" he 

The spy turned around with a counte- 
nance more composed and cheerful than he 
had before shown, and answered: 

" He offered to save her from death if she 
would marry him. 

"Ah; and she laughed at the dear cap- 
tain, as we all heard. But you, senhor, 
made an effort to induce her to change her 
mind did you not?" 

"I?" returned Valcour. "By no means, 
senhor. It is better she should die than 
marry this brutal Captain de Souza." 

This speech seemed to confirm my sus- 

The Fate of a Crown 

picion that Valcour himself loved Lesba. 
But Paola cast one of his quick, searching 
glances into the spy's face and seemed 
pleased by what he discovered there. 

" May I speak with my sister?" he asked, 
a moment later. 

"Impossible, senhor. She must remain 
in solitary confinement until the hour of 
execution, for the captain's gallantry will 
not permit him to bind her." 

Then, approaching de Pintra, Valcour 
stood a moment looking down at him and 

"Sir, you have made a noble fight for a 
cause that has doubtless been very dear to 
you. And you have lost. In these last 
hours that you are permitted to live will you 
not make a confession to your Emperor, and 
give him the details of that conspiracy in 
which you were engaged?" 

"In Rio," answered Dom Miguel, quiet- 
ly, "there is now no Emperor. The Re- 
public is proclaimed. Even at this moment 
the people of our country are acclaiming the 
United States of Brazil. Senhor, your power 
is ended. You may, indeed, by your mas- 

The Death Sentence 

ter's orders, murder us in this far-away pro- 
vince before assistance can reach us. But 
our friends will exact a terrible vengeance 
for the deed, be assured." 

Valcour did not answer at once. He 
stood for a time with knitted brows, thought- 
fully regarding the white-haired chieftain 
of the Republic, whose brave utterances 
seemed to us all to be fraught with prophetic 

"If your lives were in my hands," said 
the spy, with a gesture of weariness, "you 
would be tried in a court of justice. I am no 
murderer, senhor, and I sincerely grieve that 
deSouza should consider his orders positive." 

He turned abruptly to Mazanovitch, and 
throwing an arm around the little man's 
shoulders bent swiftly down and pressed a 
kiss upon the pallid forehead. Then, with 
unsteady gait he walked from the room, and 
at last I saw the eyes of Mazanovitch open 
wide, a gaze of ineffable tenderness following 
the retreating form, until Valcour had dis- 
appeared. Paola also was staring, and the 
disgusting simper had left his face, for a 
time, at least. 


The Fate of a Crown 

Silence now fell upon the room. B astro, 
in his corner, had gone to sleep, and Dom 
Miguel seemed lost in thought. From the 
chamber in which Lesba was confined came 
no sound to denote whether the girl grieved 
over her approaching fate or bore it with 
the grim stoicism of her doomed comrades. 

The guard paced up and down before the 
closed door, pausing at times to mutter a 
word to his fellows, who stood watchfully 
over us. From my station on the chest I 
could gaze into the yard and note the shadow 
of the house creeping further and further 
out into the sunshine, bringing ever nearer 
the hour when the bright orb would sink 
into the far-away plateau and our eyes would 
be closed forever in death. 

Yet the time dragged wearily, it seemed 
to me. When one is condemned to die it 
is better to suffer quickly, and have done 
with it. To wait, to count the moments, is 
horrible. One needs to have nerves of iron 
to endure that. 

Nevertheless, we endured it. The hours 
passed, somehow, and the shadows grew dim 
with stretching. 


The Death Sentence 

Suddenly I heard a clank of spurs as de 
Souza approached. He gave a brief order 
to the Uruguayans who were lounging in the 
yard, and then stepped through the doorway 
and faced us. 

"Get ready, senhors," said he. "The 
hour has come." 




We aroused ourselves, at this, and re- 
garded the captain attentively. 

He turned his stern gaze upon one after 
the other, and gave a growl of satisfaction 
as he noted no craven amongst us. 

: 'You shall draw cuts, gentlemen, to de- 
cide the order in which you must expiate 
your crime. I will show no partiality. See, 
here are the slips, a number written upon 
each. Julio shall place them in his hat and 
allow you to draw." 

He handed the bits of paper to one of his 
men and strode to the door of Lesba's room. 

"Open!" he commanded, giving it a rap 
with his knuckles. 

There was no reply. 

"Open!" said he, again, and placed his 
ear to the panel. 

Then, with a sudden gesture, he swung 
the door inward. 


At the Eleventh Hour 

A moment the officer stood motionless, 
gazing into the chamber. Then he turned 
to us a face convulsed with anger. 

"Who permitted the woman to escape?" 
he demanded. 

The guards, startled and amazed, peered 
over his shoulders into the vacant room ; but 
none dared to answer. 

"What now, Captain, has your bird 
flown?" came Valcour's soft voice, and the 
spy entered the room and threw himself 
carelessly into a chair. 

De Souza looked upon his colleague with 
evident suspicion, and twisted the ends of 
his moustache in sullen fury. Perhaps he 
dared not accuse Valcour openly, as the 
latter was the Emperor's authorized repre- 
sentative. And it may be the captain was 
not sincerely sorry that Lesba had escaped, 
and so saved him from the necessity of exe- 
cuting her, for, after a period of indecis- 
ion, the wrath of the officer seemed to cool, 
and he slowly regained his composure. Val- 
cour, who was watching him, appeared to 
notice this, and said: 

"You forgot the window, my Captain. 

The Fate of a Crown 

It was not difficult for the senhorita to steal 
across the roadway unobserved and take 
refuge in the forest. For my part, I am 
glad she is gone. Our royal master has 
little credit in condemning a woman to such 
a death." 

"Have a care, senhor! Your words are 

"The Emperor will be the first to ap- 
plaud them, when he has time to think. In- 
deed, de Souza, were I in your place, I should 
ignore the order to execute these people. 
His Majesty acted under a severe nervous 
strain, and he will not thank you, believe me, 
for carrying out his instructions so literally." 

"A soldier's duty is to obey," returned 
the officer, stiffly. Then, turning to the tall 
Uruguayan who held the hat, he added: 

"Let the prisoners draw, Julio!" 

Another soldier now unfastened our 
bonds, and Paola, who was the first to be 
approached by Julio, took a slip of paper 
from the hat and thrust it into his pocket 
without examination. 

Sanchez B astro drew next, and smiled 
as he read his number. Then came my 

At the Eleventh Hour 

turn, and I own that I could not repress a 
slight trembling of my fingers as I drew 
forth the fatal slip. It was number four. 

"Good!" murmured de Pintra, reading 
the slip over my shoulder. "I shall not be 
alive to witness your death, Robert." And 
then he took the last paper from the hat 
and added: "I am number two." 

"I am first," said Bastro, with cheerful- 
ness. "It is an honor, Dom Miguel," and 
he bowed respectfully to the chief. 

Paola wore again the old, inane smile 
that always lent his face an indescribable 
leer of idiocy. I knew, by this time, that 
the expression was indeed a mask to cover 
his real feelings, and idly wondered if he 
would choose to die with that detestable 
simper upon his lips. 

"Come, gentlemen; we are ready." 

It was the captain who spoke, and we 
rose obediently and filed through the door- 
way, closely guarded by the Uruguayans. 

In the vacant space that served as a yard 

for Bastro's house stood a solitary date-palm 

with a straight, slender trunk. Before this 

we halted, and Bastro was led to the tree 


The Fate of a Crown 

and a rope passed around his body securing 
him to the trunk. They offered to blind- 
fold him, but he waved the men aside. 

"It will please me best to look into the 
muzzles of your guns," said the patriot, in 
a quiet voice. "I am not afraid, Senhor 

De Souza glanced at the sun. It was 
slowly sinking, a ball of vivid red, into the 
bosom of the far-away plateau. 

At a gesture from the officer six of the 
guardsmen stepped forward and leveled 
their carbines upon B astro, who stood up- 
right against the tree, with a proud smile 
upon his manly face. 

I turned away my head, feeling sick and 
dizzy; and the rattle of carbines set me 
trembling with nervous horror. Nor did I 
look toward the tree again, although, after 
an interval of silence, I heard the tramp of 
soldiers bearing Bastro's body to the desert- 
ed house. 

"Number two !" cried de Souza, harshly. 

It was no time to turn craven. My own 
death was but a question of moments, and I 
realized that I had little time to bid farewell 

At the Eleventh Hour 

to my kind friend and strive to cheer him 
upon his way. Going to his side I seized 
Dom Miguel's hand and pressed it to my 
lips; but he was not content with that, and 
caught me in a warm and affectionate em- 

Then he was led to the tree. I turned 
my back, covering my face with my hands. 

" For the Cause ! " I heard his gentle voice 
say. The carbines rang out again, and 
a convulsive sob burst from my throat in 
spite of my strong efforts to control my 

Again I listened to the solemn tread of 
the soldiers, while from far away the sound 
of a shout was borne to us upon the still 
evening air. 

Somehow, that distant shout thrilled me 
with a new-born hope, and I gazed eagerly 
along the line of roadway that skirted the 

De Souza was gazing there, too, with a 
disturbed look upon his face; but the light 
was growing dim, and we could see nothing. 

"Number three!" 

It was Paola's turn, and he walked un- 

The Fate of a Crown 

assisted to the tree and set his back to it, 
while the soldiers passed the rope under 
his arms and then retired. But they left 
Valcour confronting the prisoner, and I saw 
the simper fade from Paola's lips and an 
eager gleam light his pale features. 

For a few moments they stood thus, sepa- 
rated from all the rest, and exchanging 
earnest whispers, while the captain stamped 
his foot with savage impatience. 

"Come, come, Valcour!" he called, at 
last. "You are interfering with my duty. 
Leave the prisoner, I command you!" 

The spy turned around, and his face was 
positively startling in its expression of in- 
tense agony. 

" If you are in a hurry, my dear Captain, 
fire upon us both!" said he, bitterly. 

With a muttered oath de Souza strode 
forward, and seizing Valcour by the arm, 
dragged him back of the firing-line. 

But at that instant a startling sound 
reached our ears the sound of a cheer 
and with it came the rapid patter of horses* 

The soldiers, who had already leveled 

At the Eleventh Hour 

their guns at Paola, swung suddenly around 
upon their heels; de Souza uttered an ex- 
clamation of dismay, and the rest of us stood 
as motionless as if turned to stone. 

For sweeping around the curve of the 
forest came a troop of horsemen, led by 
a girl whose fluttering white skirts trailed 
behind her like a banner borne on the breeze. 
God! how they rode the horses plunging 
madly forward at every bound, their red 
eyes and distended nostrils bearing evidence 
of the wild run that had well-nigh exhausted 
their strength. 

And the riders, as they sighted us, 
screamed curses and encouragement in the 
same breath, bearing down upon our silent 
group with the speed of a whirlwind. 

There was little time for the Uruguayans 
to recover from their surprise, for at close 
range the horsemen let fly a volley from 
rifle and revolver that did deadly havoc. 
A few saddles were emptied in return, but 
almost instantly the soldiers and patriots 
were engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand 
conflict, with no quarter given or expected. 

De Souza fell wounded at the first volley, 

The Fate of a Crown 

and I saw Valcour, with a glad cry, start 
forward and run toward Paola, who was 
still bound to his tree. But the captain, 
half raising himself from the ground, aimed 
his revolver at the prisoner, as if determined 
upon his death in spite of the promised 

"Look out!" I shouted, observing the 

Paola was, of course, helpless to evade 
the bullet; but Valcour, who had nearly 
reached him, turned suddenly at my cry 
and threw himself in front of Paola just as 
the shot rang out. 

An instant the spy stood motionless. 
Then, tossing his arms above his head, he 
fell backward and lay still. 




Although the deadly conflict was raging 
all about us, I passed it by to regard a still 
more exciting tragedy. For with a roar like 
that from a mad bull Mazanovitch dashed 
aside his captors and sprang to the spot 
where Valcour lay. 

"Oh, my darling, my darling!" he 
moaned, raising the delicate form that he 
might pillow the head upon his knee. 
"How dared they harm you, my precious 
one ! How dared they ! " 

Paola, struggling madly with his bonds, 
succeeded in bursting them asunder, and 
now staggered up to kneel beside Valcour. 
His eyes were staring and full of a horror 
that his own near approach to death had 
never for an instant evoked. 

Taking one of the spy's slender hands in 
both his own he pressed it to his heart and 
said in trembling tones : 

The Fate of a Crown 

" Look up, sweetheart ! Look up, I beg 
of you. It is Francisco do you not know 
me? Are you dead, Valcour? Are you dead?" 

A gentle hand pushed him aside, and 
Lesba knelt in his place. With deft fingers 
she bared Valcour's breast, tearing away the 
soft linen through which a crimson stain 
had already spread, and bending over a 
wound in the left shoulder to examine it 
closely. Standing beside the little group, 
I found myself regarding the actors in this 
remarkable drama with an interest almost 
equaling their own. The bared breast re- 
vealed nothing to me, however; for already 
I knew that Valcour was a woman 

Presently Lesba looked up into the little 
man's drawn face and smiled. 

"Fear nothing, Captain Mazanovitch," 
said she softly; "the wound is not very 
dangerous, and please God! we will yet 
save your daughter's life." 

His daughter! How much of the mys- 
tery that had puzzled me this simple word 
revealed ! 

Paola, still kneeling and covering his face 
with his hands, was sobbing like a child; 

The Emperor's Spy 

Mazanovitch drew a long breath and al- 
lowed his lids to again droop slowly over 
his eyes; and then Lesba looked up and 
our eyes met. 

"I am just in time, Robert," she mur- 
mured happily, and bent over Valcour to 
hide the flush that dyed her sweet face. 

I started, and looked around me. In 
the gathering twilight the forms of the 
slaughtered Uruguayans lay revealed where 
they had fallen, for not a single member of 
Dom Pedro's band of mercenaries had es- 
caped the vengeance of the patriots. 

Those of our rescuers who survived were 
standing in a little group near by, leaning 
upon their long rifles, awaiting further com- 

Among them I recognized Pedro, and 
beckoning him to follow me I returned to 
the house and lifted a door from its hinges. 
Between us we bore it to the yard and very 
gently placed Valcour's slight form upon 
the improvised stretcher. 

She moaned at the movement, slowly 
unclosing her eyes. It was Paola's face that 
bent over her and Paola that pressed her 

The Fate of a Crown 

hand; so she smiled and closed her eyes 
again, like a tired child. 

We carried her into the little chamber 
from whence Lesba had escaped, for in the 
outer room lay side by side the silent forms 
of the martyrs of the Republic. 

Tenderly placing Valcour upon the couch, 
Pedro and I withdrew and closed the door 
behind us. 

I had started to pass through the outer 
room into the yard when an exclamation 
from the station-master arrested me. Turn- 
ing back I found that Pedro had knelt be- 
side Dom Miguel and with broken sobs was 
pressing the master's hand passionately to 
his lips. My own heart was heavy with sor- 
row as I leaned over the outstretched form 
of our beloved chief for a last look into his 
still face. 

Even as I did so my pulse gave a bound 
of joy. The heavy eyelids trembled ever 
so slightly the chest expanded in a gentle 
sigh, and slowly oh, so slowly! the eyes 
of Dom Miguel unclosed and gazed upon 
us with their accustomed sweetness and in- 


The Emperor's Spy 

"Master! Master!" cried Pedro, bend- 
ing over with trembling eagerness, "it is 
done ! It is done, my master ! The Revo- 
lution is accomplished Fonseca is supreme 
in Rio the army is ours! The country is 
ours! God bless the Republic of Brazil!" 

My own heart swelled at the glad tidings, 
now heard for the first time. But over the 
face of the martyred chief swept an expres- 
sion of joy so ecstatic so like a dream of 
heaven fulfilled that we scarcely breathed 
as we watched the light grow radiant in his 
eyes and linger there while an ashen pallor 
succeeded the flush upon his cheeks. 

Painfully Dom Miguel reached out his 
arms to us, and Pedro and I each clasped a 
hand within our own. 

" I am glad," he whispered, softly. " Glad 
and content. God bless the Republic of 

The head fell back; the light faded from 
his eyes and left them glazed and staring; 
a tremor passed through his body, com- 
municating its agony even to us who held 
his hands, as by an electric current. 

Pedro still kneeled and sobbed, but I 

The Fate of a Crown 

contented myself with pressing the hand 
and laying it gently upon Dom Miguel's 

Truly it was done, and well done. In 
Rio they were cheering the Republic, while 
here in this isolated cottage, surrounded 
by the only carnage the Revolution had in- 
volved, lay stilled forever that great heart 
which had given to its native land the birth- 
right of Liberty. 

Lesba had dressed Valcour's wound with 
surprising skill, and throughout the long, 
dreary night she bathed the girl's hot fore- 
head and nursed her as tenderly as a sister 
might, while Paola sat silently by and 
watched her every movement. 

In the early morning Pedro summoned 
us to breakfast, which he had himself pre- 
pared ; and, as Valcour was sleeping, Lesba 
and Mazanovitch joined me at the table 
while Paola still kept ward in the wounded 
girl's chamber. 

The patriots were digging a trench in 
which to inter the dead Uruguayans, and 
I stood in the doorway a moment and 

The Emperor's Spy 

watched them, drinking in at the same time 
the cool morning air. 

There Lesba joined me, somewhat pale 
from her night's watching, and although as 
yet no word of explanation had passed be- 
tween us, she knew that I no longer doubted 
her loyalty, and forbore to blame me for 
my stupidity in not comprehending that her 
every action had been for the welfare of the 

At breakfast Pedro told us more of the 
wonderful news; how the Revolution had 
succeeded in Rio with practically no blood- 
shed or resistance; how Fonseca had met 
the Emperor at the train on his arrival and 
escorted him, well guarded, to the port, 
where he was put on board a ship that sailed 
at once for Lisbon. Indeed, that was to be 
the last of Dom Pedro's rule, for the popu- 
lace immediately proclaimed Fonseca dicta- 
tor, and the patriots' dream of a Republic 
of Brazil had become an established fact. 

Presently we passed into the outer room 

and looked upon the still form of Miguel 

de Pintra, the man to whose genius the 

new Republic owed its success the great 


The Fate of a Crown 

leader who had miserably perished on the 
very eve of his noble achievement. 

The conspiracy was a conspiracy no 
longer; it had attained to the dignity of a 
masterly Revolution, and the Cause of Free- 
dom had once more prevailed ! 

Taking Lesba's hand we passed the 
bodies of Bastro and Captain de Souza and 
gained the yard, walking slowly along the 
road that skirted the forest, while she told 
me how Valcour had assisted her to escape 
from the chamber, that she might summon 
the patriots to effect our rescue. She had 
wandered long in the forest, she explained, 
before Pedro met her and assisted her to 
gather the band that had saved us. Yet 
the brave girl's grief was intense that she 
had not arrived in time to rescue her guar- 
dian, Dom Miguel, whom she so dearly 

"Yet I think, Robert," said she, with 
tearful eyes, "that uncle would have died 
willingly had he known the Republic was 

"He did know it," said I. "For a mo- 
ment, last evening, he recovered conscious- 

The Emperor's Spy 

ness. It was but a moment, but long enough 
for Pedro to tell him the glorious news of 
victory. And he died content, Lesba, al- 
though I know how happy it would have 
made him to live to see the triumph of the 
new Republic. His compatriots would also 
have taken great pride in honoring Dom 
Miguel above all men for his faithful ser- 

She made no reply to this, and for a time 
we walked on in gloomy silence. 

"Tell me, Lesba, have you long had 
knowledge of Valcour's real identity?'* 

" Francisco told me the truth months ago, 
and that he loved her," she replied. "But 
Valcour was sworn to the Emperor's service, 
and would not listen to my brother as long 
as she suspected him of being in league with 
the Republicans. So they schemed and 
struggled against one another for the su- 
premacy, while each admired the other's 
talents, and doubtless longed for the war- 
fare to cease." 

"And how came this girl to be the Em- 
peror's spy, masquerading under the guise 
of a man?" I inquired. 

The Fate of a Crown 

" She is the daughter of Captain Mazan- 
ovitch, who, when her mother died, took 
delight in instructing his child in all the arts 
known to the detective police. As she grew 
up she became of great service to her father, 
being often employed upon missions of ex- 
treme delicacy and even danger. Mazan- 
ovitch used to boast that she was a better 
detective than himself, and the Emperor 
became attached to the girl and made her 
his confidential body-guard, sending her at 
times upon important secret missions con- 
nected with the government. When Ma- 
zanovitch was won over to the Republican 
conspiracy his daughter, whose real name 
is Carlotta, refused to desert the Emperor, 
and from that time on treated her father as 
a traitor, and opposed her wit to his own on 
every occasion. The male attire she wore 
both for convenience and as a disguise; but 
I have learned to know Valcour well, and 
have found her exceedingly sweet and 
womanly, despite her professional calling." 

It was all simple enough, once one had 
the clew ; yet so extraordinary was the story 
that it aroused my wonder. In no other 

The Emperor's Spy 

country than half-civilized Brazil, I reflect- 
ed, could such a drama have been enacted. 

When we returned to the house we passed 
the window of Valcour's room and paused 
to look through the open sash. 

The girl was awake and apparently much 
better, for she smiled brightly into the face 
Paola bent over her, and showed no resent- 
ment when he stooped to kiss her lips. 




It was long ago, that day that brought 
Liberty to Brazil and glory to the name 
of Miguel de Pintra. Fate is big, but 
her puppets are small, and such atoms 
are easily swept aside and scattered by the 
mighty flood-tide of events for which we 
hold capricious Fate responsible. 

Yet they leave records, these atoms. 

I remember how we came to Rio Val- 
cour, Lesba, Paola, and I and how Paola 
was carried through the streets perched 
upon the shoulders of the free citizens, while 
vast throngs pressed around to cheer and 
strong men struggled to touch the patriot's 
hand and load him with expressions of love 
and gratitude. And there was no simper 
upon Paola's face then, you may be sure. 
Since the tragedy at Bastro's that disagree- 
able expression had vanished forever, to be 
replaced by a manliness that was the fellow's 

The Girl I Love 

most natural attribute, and fitted his fine 
features much better than the repulsive leer 
he had formerly adopted as a mask. 

Valcour, still weak, but looking rarely 
beautiful in her womanly robes, rode in a 
carriage beside Francisco and shared in the 
fullness of his triumph. The patriots were 
heroes in those early days of the Republic. 
Even I, modest as had been my deeds, was 
cheered far beyond my deserts, and for 
Lesba they wove a wreath of flowering 
laurel, and forced the happy and blushing 
girl to wear it throughout our progress 
through the streets of the capital. 

Fonseca invited us to the palace, where 
he had established his headquarters; but 
we preferred to go to the humbler home of 
Captain Mazanovitch, wherein we might 
remain in comparative retirement during the 
exciting events of those first days of re- 

Afterward we witnessed the grand pro- 
cession in honor of the Dictator. I remem- 
ber that Fonseca and his old enemy Piexoto 
rode together in the same carriage, all feuds 
being buried in their common triumph. 

The Fate of a Crown 

The bluff general wore his most gorgeous 
uniform and the lean statesman his shabby 
gray cloak. And in my judgment the 
adulation of the populace was fairly divided 
between these two champions, although the 
Dictator of the Republic bowed with pom- 
pous pride to right and left, while the little 
man who was destined to afterward become 
President of the United States of Brazil 
shrank back in his corner with assumed 
modesty. Yet Piexoto's eyes, shrewd and 
observing, were everywhere, and it may be 
guessed that he lost no detail of the day's 

Paola should have been in that proces- 
sion, likewise, for the people fairly idolized 
the former Minister of Police, and both Fon- 
seca and Piexoto had summoned him to join 
them. But no; he preferred to sit at Val- 
cour's side in a quiet, sunlit room, effacing 
himself in all eyes but hers, while history 
was making in the crowded streets of the 

It required many days to properly organ- 
ize a republican form of government; but 
the people were patient and forbearing, and 

The Girl I Love 

their leaders loyal and true; so presently 
order began to come out of chaos. 

Meantime Valcour mended daily, and 
the roses that had so long been strangers 
to her pale cheeks began to blossom pret- 
tily under the influence of Francisco's lov- 
ing care. 

They were happy days, I know; for 
Lesba and I shared them, although not so 
quietly. For the dear girl was all aglow 
with the triumph of Liberty, and dragged 
me as her escort to every mass-meeting or 
festival and every one of the endless pro- 
cessions until the enthusiasm of her com- 
patriots had thoroughly tired me out. The 
Liberty of Brazil bade fair to deprive me of 
my own; but I bore the ordeal pretty well, 
in Lesba's society. 

Then came a day when I obtained my 
reward. Valcour had made a quick re- 
covery, and now needed only the strength- 
ening influence of country air; so one 
bright morning we all boarded a special 
train and traveled to Cuyaba, reaching 
safely the de Pintra mansion in the early 


The Fate of a Crown 

Nothing seemed changed about the dear 
old place, which I had already arranged to 
purchase from Dom Miguel's executors. 
Pedro had resigned his position as station- 
master to become our major-domo, and the 
thoughtful fellow had made every provision 
for our comfort on this occasion of our home- 

Captain Mazanovitch was with us. He 
had retired from active service to enjoy 
his remaining years in his daughter's soci- 
ety, and although he seldom allowed 
one of us to catch a glimpse of his eyes, 
the face of the old detective had acquired 
an expression of content that was a distinct 
advantage to it. 

I had chosen to occupy my old room off 
the library, and early on the morning follow- 
ing our arrival I arose and passed out into 
the shrubbery. Far down the winding 
walks, set within the very center of the vast 
flower gardens, was the grave of Dom 
Miguel, and thither I directed my steps. 
As I drew near I saw the square block of 
white marble that the patriots had caused 
to be erected above the last resting-place 

The Girl I Love 

of their beloved chieftain. It bore the 



and is to this day the mecca of all good re- 

Lesba was standing beside the tomb as 
I approached. Her gown was as white as 
the marble itself, but a red rose lay upon 
her bosom and another above Dom Miguel. 
She did not notice my presence until I 
touched her arm, but then she turned and 
smiled into my eyes. 

"' Savior of Brazil!' she whispered 
softly. "It is splendid and fitting. Did 
you place it there, Robert?" 

"No," I answered; "the credit is due to 
Piexoto. He claimed the privilege for him- 
self and his associates, and I considered it 
his right." 

"Dear uncle!" said she; and then we 
turned reverently away and strolled through 
the gardens. Every flower and shrub lay fair 
and fresh under the early sun, and we ad- 
mired them and drank in their fragrance 

The Fate of a Crown 

until suddenly, as we turned a corner of the 
hedge, I stopped and said: 

"Lesba, it was here that I first met you; 
on this exact spot!" 

"I remember," said she, brightly. "It 
was here that I prophesied you would be true 
to the Cause." 

"And it was here that I loved you," I 
added; "for I cannot remember a moment 
since that first glimpse of your dear face that 
my heart has not been your very own." 

She grew sober at this speech, and I 
watched her face anxiously. 

"Tell me, Lesba," said I at last, "will 
you be my wife?" 

"And go to your country?" she asked, 

I hesitated. 

"All my interests are there, and my peo- 
ple, as well," I answered. 

"But I cannot leave Brazil," she re- 
joined, positively; "and Brazil needs you, 
too, Robert, in these years when she is 
beginning to stand alone and take her place 
among nations. Has not Fonseca offered 
you a position as Director of Commerce?" 

The Girl I Love 

"Yes; I am grateful for the honor. But 
I have large and important business in- 
terests at home." 

"But your uncle is fully competent to 
look after them. You have told me as 
much. We need you here more than they 
need you at home, for your commercial con- 
nections and special training will be of in- 
estimable advantage in assisting the Repub- 
lic to build up its commerce and extend its 
interests in foreign lands. Brazil needs you. 
7 need you, Robert! Won't you stay with 
us dear? For a time, at least?" 

Well, I wrote to Uncle Nelson, and his 
reply was characteristic. 

"I loaned you to de Pintra, not to Bra- 
zil," his letter read. "But I am convinced 
the experiences to be gained in that country 
during these experimental years of the new 
republic, will be most valuable in fitting you 
for the management of your own business 
when you are finally called upon to assume 
it. You may remain absent for five years, 
but at the expiration of that period I shall 
retire from active business, and you must 
return to take my place." 

The Fate of a Crown 

On those terms I compromised with 
Lesba, and we were married on the same 
day that Valcour and Francisco Paola be- 
came man and wife. 

"I should have married you, anyway," 
Lesba confided to me afterward; "but I 
could not resist the chance to accomplish 
one master-stroke for the good of my coun- 
try." And she knew the compliment would 
cancel the treachery even before I had kissed 

As I have hinted, these events happened 
years ago, and I wonder if I have forgotten 
any incident that you would be interested to 

Dom Miguel's old home became our 
country residence, and we clung to it every 
day I could spare from my duties at the cap- 
ital. It was here our little Valcour was born, 
and here that Francisco came afterward to 
bless our love and add to our happiness and 

The Paolas are our near neighbors, and 

often Gaptain Mazanovitch drives over with 

their son Harcliffe togive the child a romp 

with our little ones. The old detective is 


The Girl I Love 

devoted to the whole noisy band, but yes- 
terday I was obliged to reprove Francisco 
for poking his chubby fingers into the cap- 
tain's eyes in a futile endeavor to make him 
raise the ever-drooping lids. 

The five-year limit expired long since; 
but I have never been able to fully separate 
my interests from those of Brazil, and al- 
though our winters are usually passed in 
New Orleans, where Uncle Nelson remains 
the vigorous head of our firm, it is in sunny 
Brazil that my wife and I love best to live. 


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